Anouk Schurink joined AbacusBio with her applied mindset and strong experience in horse breeding, quantitative genetics, genomic analyses, and genetic diversity.
Born and raised on the countryside in the east of the Netherlands, Anouk got intrigued by Mendel’s Law in high school when attempting an assignment about the inheritance of flower colours.
After obtaining a PhD, she moved on to post-doctoral research work looking at breeding against heritable diseases in horses.
She then spent her following years as a breeding specialist at the Royal Dutch Sport Horse Studbook and as a researcher and project manager at the Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands.
Anouk is an animal and plant breeding consultant working with both commercial companies as well as various organizations in developing countries.
During Anouk’s career at AbacusBio she has shifted from an analyst role to a position where she is contributing to managing projects as well, working with colleagues on solving AbacusBio’s clients’ challenges and questions.
Anouk’s career highlights include:
- Development of DNA-tests to identify carriers of dwarfism and hydrocephalus in Friesian horses (Dutch native breed)
- A significant contribution to the development and introduction of genomic selection against osteochondrosis in the Dutch Sport Horse population
- The development and introduction of a genomic tool and related protocol to determine breed purity of native Dutch cattle
- Developing and implementing tools for Bayer, helping them to accelerate the rate of genetic gain;
- Prioritizing traits in developing countries in close collaboration with several Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research centres, identifying product varieties for cassava and sweet potato in Uganda and rice in Tanzania that better meet market needs;
- Setting up and improving community-based breeding programs used mostly in developing countries, for now through project Mesha in India, a project supported by the Aga Khan Foundation and aimed at empowering women goat breeders in the state of Bihar;
- Quantifying the value of adding genomics to breeding decisions for the British Texel Sheep Society;
- Advising the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation on potential measures to reduce inbreeding;
- Providing literature reviews on recent developments related to equine disorders and performance traits.
‘Real world’ implementations based on research Anouk has significantly contributed to are:
- Development of DNA-tests to identify carriers of dwarfism and hydrocephalus in Friesian horses (Dutch native breed) and subsequent marketing by VHL Genetics laboratory;
- A significant contribution to the development and introduction of genomic selection against osteochondrosis in the Dutch Sport Horse population;
- The development and introduction of a genomic tool and related protocol to determine breed purity of native Dutch cattle;
- The development and implementation of tools to accelerate the annual rate of genetic gain in Bayer’s breeding program.
Anouk is passionate about translating science to practical solutions and present these to our clients in an understandable way. Not science for the sake of science, but science for IMPACT in the ‘real world’ is what gets Anouk out of bed! Bringing and keeping teams together, as well as honest communications and detailed progress tracking, with enthusiasm and perseverance, reflect Anouk’s approach to collaborations!
Anouk moved to Edinburgh in 2020. She loves traveling and meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures! Adventures big and small: from riding a motorcycle in the Himalayas in India to camping weekends in Scotland visiting local nature reserves. Anouk really picked up on my photography after moving to Scotland, mostly capturing birds and other wildlife. Hiking, singing, and dancing is what she enjoys doing a lot too!