Thomas R. Famula, Ph.D.

Thomas Famula

Position Title
Professor Emeritus



  • B.A., Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 1977.
  • M.S., Master of Science in Animal Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1979.
  • Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy in Animal Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 1981.

Research Interests

My research focus is on the statistical aspects of genetics and animal improvement. Most recently this has concentrated on the inheritance of disease in dogs, a topic that has focused on epilepsy in Belgian tervuren, deafness in Dalmatians and Addison's disease in Bearded collies.
Each of these areas begins as a purely statistical problem, asking the question: "Is this disorder inherited?" Having established inheritance there begins a search for the statistical evidence of the impact of single genes on this disease, an area of investigation called complex segregation analysis. The next phase of research is the collaborative effort to combine pedigree and disease information with DNA markers and maps of the canine genome. The intent is to discover those specific genes that influence the expression of disease.

Selected Publication

Oberbauer, A.M., Grossman, D.I., Eggleston, M.L., Irion, D.N., Pedersen, N.C., Schaffer, A.L. and Famula, T.R. 2003. The genetics of epilepsy in the Belgian Tervuren and Sheepdog. Journal of Heredity. 94:57-63.

Carroll, S.P., Dingle, H., and Famula, T.R. 2003. Rapid appearance of epistasis during adaptive divergence following colonization. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Biology Letters,

Davidson A.P., Pollard R.E., Bannasch, D.L., Marks, S.L., Hornof, W.J., and Famula, T.R. 2004. The inheritance of cricopharyngeal dysfunction in Golden retrievers. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 65:344-349.

Cargill, E.J., Famula, T.R., Strain, G.M., and Murphy, K.E. 2004. Heritability and segregation analysis in US Dalmatians. Genetics. 166:1385-1393.

Bannasch, D.L., Ling, G.V., Bea, L.J. and Famula, T.R. 2004. Inheritance of urinary calculi in the Dalmatian. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 18:483-487.

Bannasch, D.L., Bannasch, M.J., Ryun, J.R., Famula, T.R., and Pedersen, N.C. 2005. Y chromosome haplotype analysis in purebred dogs. Mammalian Genome. 16:273-280.

Carroll, S.P., Loye, J.E., Dingle, H., Mathieson, M., Famula, T.R. and Zalucki, M. 2005. And the beak shall inherit- evolution in response to invasion. Ecology Letters. 8:944-951.