Member Listing


Eleanor Raffan


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Institute of Metabolic Science -Metabolic Research Laboratories



Other Affiliation

Department of Veterinary Medicine


Post Doctoral

Research Summary

I am interested in how genes influence metabolism. In dogs, selective breeding has resulted an unusual genetic architecture which makes mapping disease associated loci remarkably tractable with much smaller numbers than in human populations.  We study pet dogs and use comparative genomics to identify genes that are responsible for determining obesity susceptibility in dogs and humans.  The mechanism of action and physiological consequences of variants of interest are tested in the lab in cellular models, and at a whole-dog level by examining their effect on eating behaviour and physiology.

Our overall aim is to better understand how genes link to obesity in both dogs and humans, in order to reveal mechanistic links and identify targets to improve obesity prevention and treatment.

I am a veterinary surgeon with specialist clinical qualifications in small animal medicine. In 2013 I set up the GOdogs Project , investigating the genetics of obesity in dogs. I am based at the Institute of Metabolic Science but our canine studies are carried out at the Dept. Veterinary Medicine where I am an Associate Lecturer.


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Computational Biology, Epidemiology, Endocrinology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Rare diseases, Other

Selected Publications

A deletion in the canine POMC gene is associated with weight and appetite in obesity
prone Labrador retriever dogs.
Raffan E, Dennis RJ, O’Donovan CJ, Becker JM, Scott RA, Smith SP, Withers DJ, Wood CJ, Conci E, Clements DN, Summers KM, German AJ, Mellersh CS, Arendt ML, Iyemere VP, Withers E, Söder J, Wernersson S, Andersson G, Lindblad-Toh K, Yeo GSH, O’Rahilly S.
Cell Metabolism. 2016 May 10;23(5):893-900.

Hepatic lipodystrophy of Galloway calves.
Strugnell B, Wessels M, Woodger N, Oliver LA, Raffan E, Genever L, Caldow G, Jones A.
Vet Rec. 2015 Sep 12;177(10):265-6.

Development, factor structure and application of the Dog Obesity Risk and Appetite (DORA) questionnaire.
Raffan E, Smith SP, O’Rahilly S, Wardle J.
PeerJ 2015 Sep 29;3:e1278.

Better research reporting for better patient care.
Feetham L, Raffan E.
Vet Rec. 2014 Nov 29;175(21):535-6.

The coding sequence of POMC and obesity and appetite in Labrador retriever dogs.
E. Raffan, J. Becker, G. Yeo, S. O’Rahilly.
The Lancet. 2014, Feb 26, 383:S86

The big problem: battling companion animal obesity.
E. Raffan.
Vet Rec. 2013 Sep 28;173(12):287-91. Full text
(2nd highest read feature article in the Veterinary Record in 2013)

Identification and Characterisation of a Novel Pathogenic Mutation in the Human Lipodystrophy Gene AGPAT2 : C48R: A Novel Mutation in AGPAT2.
N. Ramanathan, M. Ahmed, E. Raffan, C.L. Stewart, S. O’Rahilly, R.K. Semple, H. Raef, J.J. Rochford.
JIMD Reports. 2013;9:73-80. Full text

Next generation sequencing – implications for clinical practice.
E. Raffan, R.K. Semple.
British Medical Bulletin. 2011 Jun 23. Full text

Early diagnosis of Werner’s syndrome using exome-wide sequencing in a single, atypical patient.
E. Raffan, L.A. Hurst, S Al Turki, G. Carpenter, C. Scott, A. Daly, A. Coffey, S. Bhaskar, E. Howard, N. Khan, H. Kingston, A. Palotie, D.B. Savage, M. O’Driscoll, C. Smith, S. O’Rahilly, I. Barroso, R.K. Semple.
Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2011 (2) DOI

Founder effect in the Horn of Africa for an insulin receptor mutation that may impair receptor recycling.
E. Raffan, M.A. Soos, N. Rocha, T. Tuthill, A.R. Thomasen, C.S. Hyden, J. Gregory, P. Hindmarsh, M. Dattani, E. Cochran, J. Al Kaabi, P. Gorden, I. Barroso, N. Morling, S. O’Rahilly, R.K. Semple. Diabetologia 54(5):1057-1065 May 2011 DOI

Other field of expertise

Veterinary medicine