Skip to content

Professor Richard Piercy


Position applied for: Chair of the Credentials Panel for Meritorious Contributions to the Knowledge pathway 

Candidate biography

Richard Piercy is a clinician scientist. He graduated as a vet from Cambridge University in 1994 and after 2 years in private practice, moved to Ohio State University (OSU) to conduct a residency programme in equine medicine and a MS degree in sled dog exercise physiology. He is board-certified in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. After a year working on muscle contraction in single muscle fibres as a research scholar in the Department of Physiology at OSU, he moved back to the UK to complete doctoral training in the molecular biology of neuromuscular disorders at Imperial College, as a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow. After the PhD, Richard was appointed as Senior Lecturer, then Reader and now Professor at the Royal Veterinary College. He was formerly Departmental Head of Research and Chair of the Clinical Research Ethical Review Board and a member of the RVC’s Research Strategy Committee and Scientific Review Board for Petplan Charitable Trust. Richard has published 95 papers in journals that range from clinical veterinary (Equine Veterinary Journal) to basic research (Science). He leads a group of 14 in the RVC’s Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory and has raised over £10.5M in research grants.

Candidate statement

I believe I have the requisite skills and experience to lead this panel for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Research and from it, knowledge, underpins our evidence-based approach to the profession’s work, and it is right that key players in our profession are identified for Fellowship. RCVS Fellows become opinion leaders: they are sought after by government, industry and for clinical advisory roles: ultimately research and knowledge helps maintain the public’s trust. Further, Fellows also act as mentors for the next generation of veterinary researchers: I have always been a strong advocate for junior researchers in our profession: I successfully lobbied the Academy of Medical Scientists to enable vets to apply for their junior funding programmes and have supported many veterinary PhD students in my own laboratory or through direct recruitment to the RVC, as Clinical Research Director. A role as Chair of the FRCVS Credentials Panel in this area would allow me to continue the support of researchers in our profession.

My personal research experience is in neuromuscular diseases. Most notably, I identified a canine model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and with it demonstrated the world’s first use of systemic gene editing in a large animal species. The work received worldwide acclaim (Amoasii et al. Science 2018; BBC News at 10). I am a strong advocate for ethical use of animal models, recognising that the public’s trust is dependent on the open publicity of animal research, but also on sound, statistically valid and adequately powered, unambiguous studies. My background as a clinical specialist and basic scientist, means that I am well placed to Chair a committee that scrutinises diverse applications in different subject areas. I have the research experience to enable me to make informed decisions about the calibre of applicants and their prior work.