A Mission of Discovery
Powered by a deep love for dogs and a passion for understanding everything about them, Ryan and Adam Boyko have spent the last decade learning everything they could about dogs – how did they first get humans to fall in love with them, how did humans and dogs change each other in the years since then, and how can we best care for our furry family members?
In the course of their quest to understand the domestic dog, Embark's founders have discovered many of the things that make every breed and every individual dog unique. Their pioneering work revealed an origin of the domestic dog near Central Asia over 15,000 years ago and the history of dog populations around the globe.
Adam's lab has also uncovered the genetic basis for many dog diseases and traits. While they have enjoyed working in remote corners of the world and in the lab, Adam and Ryan have always wanted to share their work and improve the lives of pet dogs everywhere. Partnering with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the leading veterinary school in the country, and Spencer Wells, a pioneer in consumer genetics, they founded Embark to bring cutting-edge science and insights directly onto your phone and desktop.
Owners and their pets can immediately benefit from all the newest and most advanced science. They can also contribute to advancing scientific discoveries every day. By continually sharing new insights while collecting more data, our dogs can benefit from the best care.
Embark with us
Embark is more than a product, or even a company.
It is a promise to share the journey of a lifetime with you and your dog.
You invite us, via our dog DNA test and website, into your home to help you understand and care for your dog like never before.
We invite you to join us in making new discoveries in dog health, wellness, care, and understanding via our research questions, continual results updates, blog posts, social media, and events.Order Now
Who we are
Ryan founded Embark after a decade spent using novel analytical approaches to tackle tough questions in public health, ecology, and industry. From Ebola outbreaks to retailer analytics to social evolution and sports science, Ryan has worked and published across a number of fields. Throughout that time, Ryan traveled the world collecting dog samples and contributing to a number of scientific studies. Ryan founded Embark to bring the insights from that research to dog owners and unlock the potential for Big Data to improve the lives of dogs and humans the world over. He has a BA in Computer Science from Harvard and graduate degrees in public health and ecology from Yale and the University of California at Davis.
Adam is an associate professor in Biomedical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, focused on the genomic investigation of dogs. Adam’s research has addressed fundamental questions of dog evolution and history, disease and trait mapping, and advancing genomic tools for canine research. Adam has coauthored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, including research in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Biology from Purdue University before his postdoctoral work at Cornell and Stanford.
Spencer has led an extraordinary life. He was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Director of the Genographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the globe in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet, in the process launching the consumer genomics industry. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books. Spencer is also an adjunct professor at the University of Texas and proud owner of the iconic blues club Antone’s - and yes, this means the occasional free drink for the team.
Matt is driven by curiosity and passion for solving business problems and understanding technology. He built a successful technology consulting practice, and has helped companies around the world to solve their most difficult strategic problems. He studied Computer Science and Manufacturing Engineering at Stanford University and the University of Cambridge. He is excited to be applying genetic science to improve health and wellness, and to be a part of advancing the frontiers of science.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER:JAMES SERPELL, PHD
Dr. Serpell is a world renowned expert in dog behavior and human-canine interactions. He is the Director of Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, where he also serves as the Marie A. Moore Professor of Ethics & Animal Welfare. Since earning his PhD in Zoology at the University of Liverpool, he has written or edited three major works and hundreds of articles in animal behavior and human-animal interactions.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER:RODNEY PAGE, DVM
Dr. Page is a leading veterinary oncologist and the Director of Colorado State University's Flint Animal Cancer Center. He is also Lead Scientist for the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, focused on understanding cancer in Golden Retrievers. Dr. Page was previously the founding director of the Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research at Cornell University.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR:JOE WAKSHLAG, DVM, PHD
Dr. Wakshlag is an Associate Professor of Integrative Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Wakshlag is a charter member of the American College of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. His research interests include obesity management and nutritional intervention for the canine athlete.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER:CARLOS BUSTAMANTE, PHD
Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante is an internationally recognized leader in the application of data science and genomics technology to problems in medicine, agriculture, and biology. Dr. Bustamante has a passion for building new academic units, non-profits, and companies to solve pressing scientific challenges. He is Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary, and Human Genomics (CEHG) and Inaugural Chair of the Department of Biomedical Data Science.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER:MARGRET L CASAL, DVM, MS, PHD
Dr. Casal is an internationally renowned Professor of Medical Genetics, Pediatrics and Reproduction. She obtained her Veterinary Degree at the University of Zürich after which she completed a residency in Medical Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied under Dr. Donald Patterson, the founder of Small Animal Genetics. Since finishing her PhD graduate studies and becoming a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Reproduction, Dr. Casal has been a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania.
Tracing the origins of the dog
Knowing village dogs worldwide was key to unlocking the story of dogs and improving the lives of dogs across the globe, Adam and Ryan started studying them in 2007. Eventually, they convinced National Geographic, the National Science Foundation, and others to send them across the world, studying dogs in 40 countries on every inhabitable continent. Their work has resulted in a new understanding of the Asian origin of dogs and provides unique insight into the genetic diversity of dogs worldwide.
Forefront of Research
In a study published in 2016 in Nature Communications, Adam describes how his laboratory analyzed nearly 5,000 DNA samples from the
Cornell Veterinary Biobank and succeeded in finding new associations with hip dysplasia risk, colitis, body size, and fur shedding. From this work, it is now possible to accurately predict how big an adult dog will be from its genetics.
Partner With Us
Embark was founded to improve the lives of dogs for generations to come. We believe in collaborating with the best researchers and veterinarians worldwide to better dog health and wellness.
If you are a researcher and would like to collaborate with us please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a dog breeder or breed club interested in working with Embark to improve the genetic health of your breed please contact us at email@example.com