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Elizabeth Murchison joins EMBO Young Investigator Programme

last modified Nov 26, 2017 05:14 PM

Elizabeth Murchison has been elected as part of the 2017 intake of the EMBO Young Investigator Programme for young European researchers in life sciences. 


EMBL Cancer Genomics poster prize won by Maximilian Stammnitz

last modified Nov 26, 2017 05:05 PM

Congratulations to Maximilian Stammnitz, who has won first prize for his poster “Disease doppelgängers: genomic characterisation of two transmissible cancers in Tasmanian devils” at the EMBL Cancer Genomics Conference in Heidelberg!

Adrian Baez-Ortega wins Abcam Prize

last modified Nov 26, 2017 05:03 PM

Many congratulations to Adrian Baez-Ortega, who won the 2017 Abcam Prize for Graduate Research at the Department of Veterinary Medicine! Adrian's research focuses on understanding the diversity and evolution of the canine transmissible venereal tumour.

Alex Sampson receives award for best project in Part II Pathology

last modified Jun 27, 2017 06:25 PM

TCG Part II student Alex Sampson won the Prize for best project in Part II Pathology (Cancer and Genetic Diseases) for his project "Characterising somatically arising nuclear insertions of mitochondrial DNA (NuMTs) in Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour".

Many congratulations Alex!

Computational approaches for discovery of mutational signatures in cancer

last modified Jun 27, 2017 02:41 PM

Many congratulations to Adrian Baez-Ortega and Kevin Gori on their new review, 'Computational approaches for discovery of mutational signatures in cancer' (BIB-17-0115.R1), which has been accepted for publication in Briefings in Bioinformatics on the 27th June 2017.

Well done both of you!

Andrea Strakova receives Kennel Club Award

last modified Jun 06, 2017 06:14 PM
Andrea Strakova receives Kennel Club Award

Andrea Strakova receiving her Kennel Club Award. Image courtesy of the Kennel Club.

Congratulations to Andrea Strakova, who has been awarded the 2017 Canine Health Awards Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award from the Kennel Club. Andrea will receive £10,000, which she will use to support her postdoctoral research on CTVT. Find more information about the award here.

CSAR Award for Andrea Strakova

last modified Jun 06, 2017 06:10 PM
CSAR Award for Andrea Strakova

Andrea Strakova receiving her CSAR Award

Andrea Strakova has been selected as one of twelve recipients of the 2017 Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) student awards. The awards recognise excellence in research by postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge. Andrea’s research is on the evolution and host interactions of the canine transmissible venereal tumour. More information on the awards can be found here. Congratulations Andrea!

TCG attend the Canine and Feline Genomics Conference

last modified Jun 06, 2017 06:02 PM
TCG attend the Canine and Feline Genomics Conference

Conference dinner in Saint Paul, Minnesota

Several TCG members attended the 9th International Conference on Canine and Feline Genomics in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Congratulations to Adrian Baez-Ortega who won a Student Travel Award for best student abstract.

Dr. Rodrigo Hamede visits the TCG

last modified May 19, 2017 12:02 PM

Dr. Rodrigo Hamede from the University of Tasmania, came to visit the TCG this week. Rodrigo is a colleague working on Tasmanian devils, we had a nice discussion about our current projects and future collaborations.  

The 6th China Small Animal Veterinary Physician Conference April 2017

last modified May 15, 2017 11:48 AM

TCG member Dr. Tracy Wang recently attended "The 6th China Small Animal Veterinary Physician Conference", which was held in Haikou, China, April 10-13, 2017. China Small Animal Veterinary Physician Conference has been recognized as the industry's most authoritative in mainland China,  it provides the best platform for the highest level of lecturers for practicing small animal vets continuing education, fantastic opportunities for Chinese and foreign small animal clinical technology exchange and international collaboration. Tracy has successfully set up the link between TCG group and small animal vets in China. We are looking forward for many more collaborations in the future.

TCG Christmas Party 2016

last modified Dec 25, 2016 06:21 PM

The 2016 TCG Christmas Party! Merry Christmas everyone!

ERC Starter Grant for TCG alumnus Jose Tubio

last modified Sep 07, 2016 04:12 PM

Many congratulations to TCG former postdoc Jose Tubio, who has been awarded a highly competitive ERC Starter Grant. The grant will allow Jose, who is now a faculty member at the University of Vigo, Spain, to start up an exciting research programme on transmissible cancers in marine bivalves. Congratulations, Jose!

Prestigious award for Andrea Strakova

last modified Sep 02, 2016 09:44 PM

Congratulations to Andrea Strakova, who has been awarded a scholarship from the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) for her research on CTVT. The scholarship, which is based purely on academic excellence, recognises Andrea’s important and exciting contributions to the field of transmissible cancers. The scholarship is available to final year female graduate students who are studying in the UK. Many congratulations to Andrea for this fantastic achievement!

TCG field trip in Belize

last modified Sep 01, 2016 11:13 AM

Punta GordaTwo TCG members, Alex Sampson and Andrea Strakova, have recently returned from a field trip in Belize. Alex and Andrea worked with vets and volunteers at the Hopkins Belize Humane Society (HBHS), Animal Medical Centre, Paw’s Veterinary Clinic, Roaring Creek Veterinary Clinic, Stann Creek Animal Hospital, Punta Gorda Humane Society and the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic to monitor the clinical behaviour of CTVT in a cohort of Belizean dogs. Huge thank you to Clara Lee Arnold from the HBHS and all of our fantastic collaborators who helped with the field work, and welcome back, Alex and Andrea.


Photo credit: Amanda Zehnder Thielman, Hopkins Belize Humane Society

Cancer in the wilderness

last modified Jul 15, 2016 11:07 AM

Read the story about how a roadkill Tasmanian devil triggered Elizabeth Murchison's interest in transmissible cancers. The story, "Cancer in the wilderness", was published in Cell.

New transmissible cancers discovered in marine bivalves

last modified Jun 22, 2016 06:57 PM

Four additional transmissible cancers have been discovered in marine bivalves - one of which appears to have jumped between species. 

Read more here:


The contagious cancer that conquered the world

last modified May 17, 2016 10:14 AM

Using genetics, scientists at the TCG show how the world’s oldest cancer “metastasised” through the global dog population in an article published today in eLife.

Thanks to dedicated help from our veterinary collaborators based all over the world, we collected and analysed canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) samples collected from over 400 dogs in 39 countries across six continents. Our research showed how CTVT has rapidly spread around the world over the last two thousand years. By tracing the five genetic lineages, or “clades”, of CTVT tumours (see map below), we mapped the geographical routes that the tumour may have taken on its global travels. Excitingly, our work also showed how CTVT has captured, maintained and rearranged its mitochondrial DNA along the way.

If you would be interested in learning more about our recent work on CTVT, you can watch our short video or access the full paper.

Citation: Strakova et al. eLife 2016;5:e14552

CTVT clades map
Five CTVT genetic lineages, or “clades”, and their distribution around the world.

TCG member Maximilian Stammnitz awarded prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship

last modified Apr 13, 2016 04:23 PM

Many congratulations to TCG member Maximilian Stammnitz, who has been awarded a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship! Gates Scholarships are extraordinarily competitive, so this is a huge achievement. More information about the 2016 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars can be found here:

An inspirational true story of Missy the dog who recovered from CTVT cancer

last modified Apr 08, 2016 11:58 AM

Here is an inspirational true story of the young female dog Missy who made a full recovery from her severe CTVT cancer, thanks for the treatment and care  provided by Animal Aid Unlimited.

Job opportunity at the TCG!

last modified Mar 07, 2016 09:08 AM

We have a new opening for a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the TCG. This is an exciting opportunity to genetically analyse hundreds of tumours derived from transmissible cancer lineages in dogs and Tasmanian devils. The deadline for applications is 28th March 2016.

Application forms and more information are found here:


Transmissible cancers mentioned in the New York Times

last modified Mar 06, 2016 07:27 PM

TCG research was mentioned in a recent article in the New York Times, speculating about transmissible cancers in humans...

Greetings from Mirjam after her visit to TCG

last modified Feb 23, 2016 11:19 AM

Last week (1st-5th February) I had the privilege of visiting the TCG group at the Department of Veterinary Medicine in Cambridge, UK.

I had an awesome week!


In my normal life I am a vet who works for a welfare organisation in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I work in a small clinic where I deal with vaccinations, basic treatment of animal illness and injuries and simple surgery (predominantly spaying). I see and treat TVT regularly and since 2013 I have been sending biopsies to Andrea. Until now, sending regular biopsies was the extent of my involvement with the CTVT project. But after this week, I feel more like I'm part of a team!


Sitting in the lab in Cambridge and cutting up the pieces of tumour that I had actually collected, made me see how I fitted in the whole picture. From the way I label the biopsy vials, the information I send, the pictures I take to the point where I treat the patient. And in discussion with Liz and Tracy and Andy, I soon realised how little things that I can do (clinical history, location of the dog, exact treatment protocol etc) can make a considerable difference to how the results are interpreted.

I had been asked to do a presentation for the lab describing my field work. Initially I was wondering how I could relate to my audience but it turned out to be very easy to share my veterinary ideas and experiences with the group and for them to make suggestions about more field based information gathering. It all came together very nicely!


My very comfortable accommodation was at King's College, right in the heart of old Cambridge. The place oozes history and it's difficult not to be impressed by it.

The week wasn't just in the laboratory. I was given a guided tour of the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital by the Dean of the Vet School Professor Mike Herrtage, I also went to other departmental presentations. We did lunch, we did dinner and it was over before I had a chance to breathe!


Liz, Tracy, Andy, Max, Young Mi, Adrian, Maire and Issy, thank you all for an unforgettable week!


Warm regards,


Dr Mirjam van der Wel from AACL, South Africa visited TCG

last modified Feb 09, 2016 11:47 AM

Dr Mirjam van der Wel, from Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) South Africa, came to visit TCG last week. Mirjam is a collaborator of our ongoing CTVT projects and had sent us hundreds of CTVT samples in the past few years. She spent a week with TCG members and investigated the journey of CTVT tissue samples from the biopsy to genomic DNA sequencing. 

Mission completed! TCG members back from an exciting Tasmania field excursion

last modified Jan 28, 2016 11:12 AM

Over the past three weeks, our enthusiastic TCG members have been on a field excursion to Australia’s southernmost state: ’Tassie devil’s habitat. With the recent discovery of a second DFTD lineage, their intention was to conduct a preliminary field assessment of the spread DFT2 and meet local collaborators of the Save the Devil program.

Bringing Tasmanian summer, many unique memories and devil stories in
their suitcases, the three have now safely arrived in Cambridge: welcome back!

A second transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils

last modified Jan 04, 2016 01:32 AM

Scientists at the TCG, together with collaborators at the University of Tasmania and the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, have discovered a second transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils. This second cancer, known as Devil Facial Tumour 2 (DFT2), causes tumours that are grossly indistinguishable from the first-discovered transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils (now known as DFT1). However, DFT2 bears no detectable genetic similarity to DFT1. This astonishing discovery has just been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Further information is also available on the University of Cambridge website.

TCG Christmas Party!

last modified Dec 12, 2015 04:59 PM

The 2015 TCG Christmas Party was complete with German mulled wine, Chinese dumplings, Korean pickled cabbage pancakes, Czech spinach pastry, an Irish casserole, a brussels sprouts extravaganza and, most importantly, a TCG cake (see photo)! There was also a visit by Secret Santa, who brought lots of interesting gifts, including a shining reindeer nose T-shirt. 

Congratulations Karina Ferreira de Castro!

last modified Dec 08, 2015 06:00 PM

Karina Ferreira de Castro, a PhD student from São Paulo State University who visited the TCG in 2014, has successfully defended her PhD thesis in Brazil. Karina is also a veterinary oncologist, who regularly treats CTVT cases. Her thesis was entitled “Canine transmissible venereal tumour – I. Gene and protein expression and genotypic characterization of DLADQA-1 (MHC-II); II. Immunohistochemistry evaluation of local immune response”. Congratulations, Karina!

Prof Kathy Belov visits the TCG

last modified Nov 11, 2015 07:32 PM

Professor Kathy Belov, from the University of Sydney, came to visit the TCG this week. Kathy is a colleague working on Tasmanian devils and other Australian species.

TCG welcomes new group member Tracy Wang

last modified Nov 11, 2015 12:07 PM

Welcome to new TCG group member Dr Tracy Wang, who has joined us today! Tracy will take the role of Lab Manager / Project coordinator. Welcome, Tracy! 

A shaggy dog story: The contagious cancer that conquered the world

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