Genomics scientist Dr Emmeline Hill wins woman entrepreneur award

14 Nov 2012

Dr Emmeline Hill receives her award at the 2012 Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards. Credit: Paul Sherwood

Dr Emmeline Hill, a genomics scientist who is the co-founder of the equine genomics company Equinome, has been named as ‘woman entrepreneur of the year’ by Irish Tatler magazine.

Hill received her award at the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards on Saturday night. It was the first time the magazine presented a woman entrepreneur of the year award.

Hill, who is also a genomics scientist at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, co-founded Equinome in 2009 along with the horse trainer and breeder Jim Bolger. The company is based at NovaUCD.

It was in 2004 that Hill received a Science Foundation Ireland award to carry out a five-year research programme to investigate the genomics of performance in thoroughbred horses.

This research led to the world’s first known identification of a gene contributing to a specific athletic trait in thoroughbred horses.

In 2009, Hill co-founded Equinome along with Bolger to commercialise the results of this research via the Equinome Speed Gene Test. This test is now being used by certain circles in the global bloodstock and racing industry to identify the optimum racing distance for individual thoroughbred horses.

Since then, the company has also created a second test called the Equinome Elite Performance Test.

Earlier this year, Equinome was also involved in a research consortium that claimed to have traced the origin of the ‘speed gene’ in thoroughbred racehorses back to a single British mare that lived in the UK around 300 years ago.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic