Leslie A. Lyons, BS, MS, PhD

Board or Specialty Certification

  • Short course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics, Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine - 1987
  • Feline Genetics and Health for Cat Breeders, Cornell University - 1992
  • American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Laboratory Animal Technician - 1993
  • Advanced Linkage Analysis, Columbia University - 1995


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow in Feline Genetics (Mentor - Stephen J. O'Brien, PhD), Laboratory of Viral Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD, 1992-1996
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow in Human Genetics (Mentor - Robert E. Ferrell, PhD), University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA, 1991-1992
  • PhD Human Genetics, Human Genetics Dissertation: Resolution of the two designated loci, AN1 and AN2, for autosomal aniridia by linkage analysis with chromosome 2p and 11p13 markers. (Mentor - Robert E. Ferrell, PhD), Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1987-1991
  • MS Human Genetics, Thesis: Exclusion mapping of Gardner syndrome when expressing congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium (CHRPE). (Mentor - Robert E. Ferrell, PhD), Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1985-1987
  • BS Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh, College of Arts and Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA, 1981-1985

Current Professional Activities

  • Research focuses on genetic aspects of domestic cats, including inherited diseases, traits and population dynamics, which are implied to genetic disease studies, translational medicine, genetic testing, and forensic applications. The Lyons laboratory maintains a research colony of cats with genetic traits and has a variety of projects with veterinary clinicians to define and describe heritable diseases and traits. Over a dozen disease models are under investigation, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, amyloidosis, lymphosarcoma, dwarfism, Ehlors-Danlos Syndrome and a model for trigeminal neuralgia.

Past Professional Activities

  • Lyons Laboratory has identified sixteen cat biomedical models including 3 forms of retinal degeneration, polycystic kidney disease in both Pallas Cats and domestic cats, a model for osteoarthritis, three metabolism disorders, two neuromuscular diseases, an autoimmune proliferative disorder, two models for skeletal axial development and a craniofacial development model. In addition, two mutations for cat blood type and 14 variants affecting pigmentation and hypo- and atrichia have been identified. Overall, the laboratory has identified 35 cat variants in 24 different genes, which is approximately 50% of all identified cat mutations.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Phi Eta Sigma, University of Pittsburgh, Freshman GPA 3.5 or higher, 1982
  • Graduate Student Representative, GSPH, 1987-1991
  • Doctoral Student Organization, GSPH, 1990-1991
  • Undergraduate mentoring award, nominated, 2001
  • Chancellor's Research Award, nominated, 2007
  • Chancellor's Research Award, nominated, 2008
  • AVMF/Winn Feline Foundation Research Award, 2011
  • National Alliance of Burmese Breeders, Recognition of outstanding research, 2012
  • Humanitarian Award, American Cat Fanciers' Association, 2012

Special Interests

  • Forensic applications of feline genetics, cat domestication


  • 1985-present, Member, American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
  • 1992 - present, Member, International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG)
  • 1992 - present, Member, Comparative Mapping Committee, International Equine Genome Workshop
  • 2004-present, Co-Chair, Applied Genetics in Companion Animals Working Group, ISAG
  • 2009-2014, Chair, Cat & Dog Genetics Workshop, Plant & Animal Genomics
  • 2011-present, Member, Genetics Society of America
  • 2012 - present, Co-Chair, Companion Animal Genetics & Genomics Workshop, ISAG

Editorial Boards

  • 2007-present, Journal of Feline Surgery & Medicine
  • 2011-present, Animal Genetics
  • 2014-present, Genome

Current Research/Clinical Interests

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, amyloidosis, lymphosarcoma, dwarfism, Ehlors-Danlos Syndrome, and oral facial pain

What I like Most About VIN

  • It's networking capability.

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