Vetsina Animal Diagnostics expands with two new appointments

Published Monday, 1st February 2021

Vetsina Animal Diagnostics – the new company formed by Roslin Technologies and Destina Genomics – is excited to announce its expansion with the appointment of a new Laboratory Scientist, and a new Head of Research.

Laboratory Scientist, Dr. Baltasar Lucendo Villarin, has extensive experience in hepatocyte biology after studying the effect of maternal smoking in foetal liver development using a semi-automatic platform of pluripotent stem cell derived hepatocytes.

He is well known for his development of an automated platform to generate liver organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells with diagnostic and industrial applications. His studies focused on stabilising hepatocellular phenotype employing synthetic materials.

Vetsina CEO, Dr. Simon Wheeler, said: “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Lucendo Villarin to the team, with his expertise in molecular biology and screening technology he will make a strong contribution to our work.”

Head of Research, Dr. Jason Ioannidis, has more than 10 years in molecular biology and genetics. During his career, he produced a thesis on the development on microRNA-based diagnostics for cattle pregnancy and oestrus, as well as research investigating associations between plasma microRNAs and industry-relevant functional traits in dairy cattle.

At the Roslin Institute he completed a three-year project in the functional genetics of avian sex determination, which included the utilisation of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to produce gene-edited chickens. He also completed a short project in the subject of avian optic fissure closure, during which he continued to apply gene-editing techniques.

Dr. Wheeler said: “Dr. Ioannidis will contribute to the team with his broad research experience in microRNA diagnostics, building collaborations, attracting funding and helping to manage various projects. He has a lot of highly relevant experience and will be a great asset to the team.”

Both will start their new roles on February 1st, 2021.


Editor’s notes:

About Vetsina Animal Diagnostics

Vetsina Animal Diagnostics has been established to maximise the impact of a revolutionary chemical-based system for detecting nucleic acids and single nucleotide polymorphisms, for the development of simple, fast, accurate & cost-effective products for PCR-free detection of microRNAs in human medicine, by applying it to animal health.

Vetsina will also research the animal diagnostics arena to focus on targets based on market need, technical feasibility and the development of a balanced portfolio.

It was founded by Roslin Technologies and Destina Genomics.

About Roslin Technologies

Roslin Technologies is a technology commercialisation company based at Easter Bush Campus, at the centre of the largest concentration of animal science expertise in Europe. The company was created to develop commercial opportunities from the research, know-how, capabilities and intellectual property of The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Roslin Technologies develop and supply products and services to industry, as well as providing opportunities for investors looking to capitalise on the growing demand for food and agricultural products. For additional information, visit

About Destina Genomics

Destina Genomics Ltd is a biotech company founded in Edinburgh in 2011 by Hugh Ilyine, Juan J. Diaz-Mochon and Mark Bradley. In July 2012, a Spanish subsidiary Destina Genomica S.L. was created with the goal to accelerate a long-term growth plan. The company is focused on the application and validation of its patented state-of-the-art technologies. For additional information, visit

For more information contact Mike Keeler ( or Alistair Moses ( at Garnett Keeler PR on +44 (0)20 8647 4467.

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