The Vitamin D Animal Laboratory (VitDAL) was established by Richard Mellanby in 2016. Richard graduated from University of Glasgow in 1998 and after two years in small animal practice, Richard completed a 3 year residency in small animal medicine at the University of Cambridge.He was awarded the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine in 2001, the RCVS Diploma in Small Animal Medicine in 2003 and the ECVIM Diploma in Companion Animal medicine in 2004. He was then awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship to undertake studies into T cell activation and regulation in diabetes for which he was awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2007.
Richard moved to the R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh in 2007 and worked as clinical fellow dividing my time between clinical work and research. He was awarded a second Wellcome Trust fellowship to continue his studies into T cell activation in 2008. In 2012 Richard was awarded a third Wellcome Trust fellowship to explore how antigen presentation cells activate a pathogenic T cell response. Richard was appointed Head of Small Animal Medicine in 2011 and Head of Veterinary Clinical Research in 2012. He was promoted to Head of Companion Animal Sciences in 2016 and was awarded a Personal Chair in Comparative Medicine in 2017. In 2018 he was appointed Deputy Head of School (Academic) at R(D)SVS.
Evidence for the Richard’s international expertise in vitamin D biology include :
- Invitations to speak at leading CPD events on calcium and vitamin D homeostasis (eg BSAVA 2014, BVA 2016, Scottish BSAVA 2017, European Society of Veterinary Endocrinology Summer School 1998, ACVIM Congress 2018, 2019, 2021)
- Invitations to speak at national and international symposium on my vitamin D research (eg Rank Foundation 2013 , Comparative Biology Society 2015, Translational Veterinary Research Conference, Hong Kong 2015, Hong Kong 2019)
- Invitations to present research seminars at UK universities on vitamin D research (eg Universities of Cambridge 2013, Bristol 2015, Sheffield 2018, 2019)
- Invitations to submit review papers (eg JSAP 2016) and book chapters on vitamin D homeostasis (eg The Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Eds Ettinger & Feldman 2016, widely regarded to be the definitive textbook of small animal medicine)
- Awards at international vitamin D conference (eg Plenary Poster Award Vitamin D Workshop, Boston, 2016 and Florida 2017) and veterinary international conferences (eg Best Resident Presentation at ESVD 2010, ESCG Purina Award at ECVIM 2017 and Presentation Prize at ECVIM 2019)
- Widespread reporting of vitamin D research in the media including radio (eg Radio Scotland), TV (eg STV), newspapers (eg The Times, The Daily Mail, The National, The Herald, Daily Express, Daily Star, The Scotsman, The Herald, The Sun) and numerous websites (eg BBC News).
- High altmetric scores on published research. For example, paper ‘Vitamin D status predict reproductive success in a wild sheep population’ has an altmetric score of 178 placing it in the 99th percentile (ranked 1 818) of 212 036 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals. The paper was placed in the 98th percentile (ranked 46) of 2 681 tracked articles of a similar age in Scientific Reports. Similarly, my paper which described how viamin D metabolites infleunced CD31 expression and subsequently regulated the duration of T cell-dendritic cell interaction had an almetic score of 282, ranking it 4th out of 7500 Frontiers in Immunology papers.
- Regular national and international requests from veterinarians seeking advice on how to manage complex calcium and vitamin D disorders in companion animals
- Awarded R(D)SVS Clinical Research Award 2015 for vitamin D biology research.
- Award of Petplan Scientific Achievement Award in 2016. The citation for this award indicated it was made in recognition of Richard’s internationally leading expertise in the comparative biology of vitamin D.
- Award of BSAVA Blaine Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of small animal science in 2020. My work on vitamin D biology in companion animals formed basis of this award.
- Promotion to Reader in 2014 and then full Professor of Comparative Medicine in 2017 based on my research outputs, notably in area of vitamin D biology
- Elected as Fellow of the Royal of College of Veterinary Surgeons for meritorious contributions to knowledge in 2016. My work on the comparative biology of vitamin D was central to this award.
- Elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2021.