News & Events

FELLOWSHIP FUNDS INVESTIGATION OF CORTICOSTEROIDS IN RACEHORSES

May 6, 2010

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors has selected and approved the funding of Dr. Heather DiMaio Knych and Dr. Mary Robinson for its post-doctoral research fellowship.

This commitment fulfills one of the main goals of the RMTC Drug Testing Initiatives Task Force, established in 2008 as a wide-ranging effort to improve drug testing and racing integrity.

The board committed $150,000 per year for three years toward the fellowship program. The University of California,Davis, and the University of Pennsylvania have agreed to match the grant.

“This is another major step by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium  to implement the recommendations that I made at The Jockey Club Round Table Conference in August 2008 toward an improved drug testing program for U.S. racing,” said RMTC Vice Chairman Alan Foreman. “We are beginning the process of developing our next generation of scientific experts in the equine industry who will be working with us on emerging medication problems. We hope the research of Drs. DiMaio Knych and Robinson will help us better regulate corticosteroids and shockwave therapy, which will be a major step in protecting the health and welfare of our equine athletes, and the interests of the wagering public.”

Dr. DiMaio Knych DVM, Ph.D., Pharmacology and Toxicology, has gained recognition nationally and internationally in the field of equine pharmacology over the past year. She oversees the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory’s Equine Pharmacology Research Laboratory. She has published several research papers on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs in the horse.  During the fellowship period, she will research the pharmacokinetics, clinical effects and biomarkers of corticosteroids in horses.

“Dr. DiMaio Knych’s research will provide fundamental information that will become textbook material in equine pharmacology,” said Dr. Scott Stanley, section head of UC Davis' Kenneth L. Maddy
Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory.  

Dr. Robinson will receive her V.M.D. and Ph.D. in Pharmacological Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania this month. She is graduating from the university’s Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program, which is a seven-year National Institute of Health-sponsored program conducted for outstanding students to acquire a Ph.D. in a basic science discipline and a veterinary degree. She will be researching the detection of extracorporeal shockwave therapy usage in the racehorse using biomarkers at the University of Pennsylvania during her fellowship period.

“The purpose of the program at the University of Pennsylvania is to encourage young, well-trained veterinarians to become involved in the racing industry’s research and forensic program,” said University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine professor Dr. Larry Soma.

The RMTC consists of 25 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.

For additional information, visit the RMTC website at rmtcnet.com or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC director of communications, at (859) 224-2848.