Dr Chris Helps BSc(Hons) PhD

Reader in Veterinary Molecular Genetics and Head of the Molecular Diagnostic Unit

Chris graduated in 1989 with a first class degree in Biochemistry, which was followed by a three year Wellcome Trust PhD and a two year Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, all in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol. I moved to Bristol Veterinary School in 1995 as a Research Associate and was promoted to Research Fellow in 2001, Senior Research Fellow in 2007 and Reader in Veterinary Molecular Genetics in 2018. I was Postgraduate Director (Research) in Bristol Veterinary School between 2005-2009.  

I have over 25 years’ molecular biology experience and have published 138 papers and 142 abstracts. I have successfully supervised 10 PhD students (3 won prizes for their work) and 5 postdoctoral scientists. My research interests have focused on the use of novel molecular techniques for the detection and quantification of feline infectious organisms and the detection of nucleotide polymorphisms causing feline genetic diseases.

In 2008 I was awarded the BSAVA Amoroso Award for 'Outstanding Contributions to Small Animal Studies by a Non-Clinical Member of University Staff', and in 2016 I was runner-up in the GCCF People's Awards for the 'Christina Dugdale Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Cat Fancy'. In 2014 I was lead author on a REF2014 Impact Case StudyWorldwide feline health is improved due to molecular research undertaken at the University of Bristol’  that was rated 4* and judged by the panel to be 'outstanding'.

I currently head the Molecular Diagnostic Unit, which I setup in 2001, and I am responsible for the research and development of new diagnostic PCR assays for the detection of infectious and genetic diseases in cats and dogs. The Unit employs nine members of staff, offers 61 molecular assays and has run more than 244,000 tests to date.