Research Fellow

My research interests include the optimal use of genomic data in livestock improvement programs. I have a considerable experience in both traditional and modern techniques of breeding value prediction, both as a researcher and an industry employee. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, I have worked as a geneticist at Cherry Valley Farms Ltd., one of the world’s leaders in duck production. In 2010, I started my PhD at the Roslin Insitute, exploring the intricacies of genomic prediction in broiler chickens using a dataset which, at the time, covered the largest population of genotyped birds. I am now expanding this expertise by taking part in a project funded by InnovateUK, which aims to develop the new version of genomic prediction based on whole-genome sequence data.

Aside from the interest in the development of novel methods in livestock production, I have a deep interest in animal welfare, health and behavior, particularly in dogs.


Employment History

2017 – present: Research Fellow in in Computational Genetics and Genomics


2014 – 2017: Post-Doctoral Researcher in Animal Breeding & Genomics



2010 – 2014:   PhD at the University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute

“Understanding Genomic Prediction in Broiler Chickens”


2008 – 2009:   MSc Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis, University of Edinburgh

MSc dissertation: “Prevalence and genetic parameters of canine elbow dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers in the United Kingdom”



Selected publications:

Ilska, J.J., Meuwissen, T.H., Kranis, A. and Woolliams, J.A., 2017. Use and optimization of different sources of information for genomic prediction. Genetics Selection Evolution49(1), p.90.


Ilska, J. (2014, August). The effect of training population size and chip density on accuracy and bias of genomic predictions in broiler chickens. In 10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production


Ilska, J., Haskell, M.J., Blott, S.C., Sánchez-Molano, E., Polgar, Z., Lofgren, S.E., Clements, D.N. and Wiener, P., 2017. Genetic Characterization of Dog Personality Traits. Genetics206(2), pp.1101-1111.


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