Saffron Walden woman impresses judges and wins £10,000 to expand her research and work within the field of diabetes in dogs

Valeria Bergomi. Picture: Kennel Club Charitable Trust

Valeria Bergomi. Picture: Kennel Club Charitable Trust - Credit: Kennel Club Charitable Trust

A university masters student from Saffron Walden has won £10,000 to expand her research and work within the field of diabetes in dogs.

Dr Valeria Bergomi, 26, won the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award within the International Canine Health Awards.

Valeria, who is currently an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge, has a research interest in canine diabetes and anatomic pathology.

Diabetes mellitus affects a large number of dogs. Valeria’s current project is mainly focused on identifying the immune cell population in order to hopefully advance targeted treatments. She has already identified changes within the canine pancreas that will help to increase understanding in this area.

Valeria said: “I am incredibly proud of having won this award. It is definitely an amazing opportunity to further my research in the field of canine diabetes.

“Canine diabetes is a huge problem in clinical practice, as it has a very significant impact on the welfare of affected animals.

“Although it can be reasonably controlled with insulin therapy and the course of the disease is well documented, there is very little knowledge regarding its pathogenesis. I am hoping that my work will elucidate that further, thus providing some potential new targets for treatment.”

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Following a PhD, Valeria plans to complete a residency in anatomic pathology in order to pursue a career as a pathologist.

The awards are organised by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and underwritten by a major gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill of Metro Bank.

This year’s ceremony was unable to proceed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 winners have been awarded their prize money and invited to next year’s event to receive their commemorative plaques.

Dr Andrew Higgins, Chairman of the ICHA panel and trustee of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which runs the awards, said: “Congratulations to Dr Bergomi for this outstanding achievement. Her current research clearly impressed the judges and she is still at an early stage in her career.”