Colgate to Host Canine Science Conference

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Scientists who study humankind’s most long-standing animal companions will travel to Colgate University for the 2022 Canine Science Conference, Oct. 7–9. 

The canine conference is only the third of its kind to be held in North America and will feature a mix of plenary keynote speakers, contributed research talks, and posters on current issues in canine science. 

About 100 scientists from Australia, Europe, and all around North America who focus on a wide range of academic disciplines are expected to travel to Hamilton, N.Y., for the conference, including: behavioral ecologists, psychologists, ethologists, geneticists, archeologists, veterinary behaviorists, anthrozoologists, anthropologists, physiologists, and anatomists. 

“This conference is designed to bring together some of the world’s preeminent canine researchers,” said Colgate Associate Professor of Biology Ana Jimenez, who organized the conference. “It is going to be incredible to have so many scientists who study dogs in Hamilton. While all of their research has a canine component, each of the researchers approaches the subject with a different perspective.” 

Planned presentation sessions include canine cancer research, aging and brain health in dogs, canine development, behavioral and biological markers of trauma in dogs, genetic selection of sled dogs, breed differences in canine temperament, understanding the bond between dogs and humans, and more. The conference is sponsored in part by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Jimenez said the next canine conference will be held in two years, and organizers will rotate to different locations around the United States. For those interested in following along on social media, visit the 2022 Canine Science Conference on Facebook, @Caninescienceconference on instagram, and @CanSciCon on Twitter.  

Keynote speakers

Daniel Promislow, University of Washington

Promislow’s work with the Dog Aging Project explores the biological factors in aging among dog breeds and their associated risks for specific diseases through a long-term longitudinal study of aging that launched in 2019. Since that time, 40,000 people and their canine companions have joined the survey, and recruitment continues. Promislow will share published results from their analysis of survey data, along with new and unpublished findings from biological samples. 

Monique Udell, Oregon State University

Research has suggested that pet dogs and humans can form attachment bonds. However, the broader attachment literature suggests that both the kind and quality of attachment relationship may also be relevant when considering how these relationships influence a dog’s behavior. Udell conducted a series of experiments that have revealed at least two kinds of attachment bonds relevant to the dog-human relationship.

Bridgett M. vonHoldt, Princeton University

VonHoldt will share her journey of using genetic resources to discover the genes that differentiate dogs from wolves through an analysis of positive directional selection. That journey revealed a key set of genes that play a role in shaping the behavioral transition characteristic of wolves to our domestic canine companions.

Franco Guscetti, Institute of Veterinary Pathology, University of Zurich

Guscetti will share data from three pathology laboratories covering diagnostic submissions from 1965 to the present, including over 100,000 tumors from more than 190,000 dogs, and how scientists have taken an interdisciplinary approach to generating tools for data analysis.