Felipe Avila, Assistant Research Geneticist

Felipe Avila, Ph.D.Felipe Avila, Ph.D.:

  • BS in Biology, University of Brasilia – Brazil (2005)
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University (2014)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Equine Genetics and Genomics Laboratory – University of Minnesota (2014-2018)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory – University of California, Davis (2018-2019)

Research Interests:

Our research program uses genetics and genomics tools to study phenotypic traits and diseases in companion animal species, with particular focus on horses and camelids. The goal of our research is to use a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to study the genetic basis of biologically and economically important traits in these species, as well as to elucidate the genetic mechanisms of inherited diseases.

Equine Research Projects:

Our equine research studies are conducted in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Bellone, and focus on investigating the genetic basis of coat color, conformation and performance phenotypes in various breeds. Our team is also interested in studying genetic diversity within and among horse breeds, and how modern breeding practices have shaped the genome of different breeds.

Camelid Research Projects:Llama

Our camelid research program involves a multidisciplinary and collaborative team of researchers and veterinarians, with the goal of studying coat color and disease genetics in alpacas and llamas. Currently, we are investigating the genetic basis of congenital sensorineural deafness in blue-eyed white alpacas, as well as various pigmentation phenotypes in both alpacas and llamas. Our team is also invested in helping the camelid genomics community to improve the alpaca genome assembly and annotation.

If you are interested in joining Dr. Avila’s team, or would like to contribute to a research project, please contact Dr. Avila.


Current Team Members:

Elizabeth Esdaile

Elizabeth Esdaile is a Masters student in the Animal Biology Graduate group. She is currently studying the genetics of several coat color traits in horses as well as genetic diversity within and among horse breeds under the mentorship of Dr. Bellone and Dr. Avila.

Rayann Eaves

Rayann Eaves is an Animal Science undergraduate student at UC Davis. She joined the Bellone/Avila laboratory during her junior year, and is currently working on various coat color and disease genetics projects in camelids.

Publications (last 5 years):

  1. Aleman, M., Crowe, C., Dechant, J., Bellone, R.R., Avila, F. 2021. Brainstem auditory evoked responses and bone conduction assessment in alpacas. Res Vet Sci 136:297-302. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2021.02.024.
  2. Donnelly, C.G., Bellone, R.R., Hales, E., Nguyen, A., Katzman, S., Dujovne, G., Knickelbein, K., Avila, F., Kalbfleisch, T., Giulotto, E., Kingsley, N.B., Tanaka, J., Esdaile, E., Peng, S., Dahlgren, A., Fuller, A., Mienaltowski, M., Raudsepp, T., Affolter, V., Petersen, J., Finno, C. 2021. Generation of a biobank from two adult stallions for the Functional Annotation of the Animal Genome (FAANG) initiative. Front Genet. 12:650305. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2021.650305.
  3. Hisey, E.A., Hermans, H., Lounsberry, Z.T., Avila, F., Grahn, R.A., Knickelbein, K.E., Duward-Akhurst, S.A., McCue, M.E., Kalbfleisch, T., Lassaline, M.E., Back, W., Bellone, R.R. 2020. Whole genome sequencing identified a 16 kilobase deletion on ECA13 strongly associated with distichiasis in Friesian horses. BMC Genomics 21(1):848. doi: 10.1186/s12864-020-07265-8.
  4. Hack, Y.L.1, Crabtree, E.1, Avila, F., Sutton, R.B., Grahn, R.A., Gilger, B., Bellone, R.R. 2020. Whole genome sequencing identifies missense mutation in GRM6 as the likely cause of congenital stationary night blindness in a Tennessee Walking Horse. 1Joint first authors. Equine Vet J. 53:316–323. doi: 10.1111/evj.13318.
  5. Baily, M.P., Avila, F., Das, P.J., Kutzler, M.A., Raudsepp, T. 2019. An autosomal translocation 73,XY,t(12;20)(q11:q11) in an infertile male llama (Lama glama) with teratozoospermia. Front Genet. 10:344. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00344.
  6. Norton, E.M., Avila, F., Schultz, N.S., Mickelson, J.R., Geor, R., McCue, M.E. 2019. Evaluation of an HMGA2 variant for pleiotropic effects on height and metabolic traits in ponies. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 33(2):942-952. doi: 10.1111/jvim.15403.
  7. Avila, F., Mickelson, J.R., Schaefer, R.J., McCue, M.E. 2018. Genome-wide signatures of selection reveal genes associated with performance in American Quarter Horse populations. Front. Genet. 9:249. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00249.
  8. Neupane, M., Moss, K.D., Avila, F., Raudsepp, T., Marron, B.M., Beever, J.E., Parish, S., Kiser, J.N., Cantrell, B., Neibergs, H.L. 2017. Case study: polymelia in a Holstein calf. The Professional Animal Scientist. 33(3):378-386. doi: 10.15232/pas.2016-01594.
  9. Norton, E.M., Avila, F., Schultz, N.S., Mickelson, J.R., McCue, M.E. 2017. Identification of a genetic locus associated with height and metabolic traits in Welsh ponies. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 52:73-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2017.03.090.
  10. McCue, M.E., Norton, E., Avila, F., Mickelson, J.R., Geor, R., Schultz, N.E. 2016. Identification of a genetic locus associated with height and fasting insulin in Welsh ponies. 2016 ACVIM Forum Research Report. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 30(4):1546-1547.
  11. Ghosh, S., Das, P.J., Avila, F., Thwaits, B.K., Chowdhary, B.P., Raudsepp, T. 2016. A non-reciprocal autosomal translocation 64,XX,t(4;10)(q21;p15) in an arabian mare with repeated early embryonic loss. Reprod. Domest. Anim. 51(1):171-4.