Comparative Genetics of Immunological Diseases towards Functional Genomics

The project focuses on comparative genetics in dogs and humans, with the aim to identify genetic alterations behind autoimmune hypothyroidism and Addison’s disease. The work is performed in close collaboration between veterinarians, geneticists, molecular biologists and human medical doctors.

The overall aim of our research is to take advantage of information from comparative genetics and provide functional genomics data both in model organisms as well as humans. We are working with dog as a model organism and more precisely breeds predisposed to immunological and immune-mediated diseases with comparative value to human diseases.

Dogs, as other domestic animals, have a genomic structure suitable for gene mapping. In addition, dogs also present the same spectrum of diseases as humans and nowadays even share our living-environment. Therefore, taking advantage of those characteristics may provide us knowledge of genetic risk factors lying behind human diseases.

In general, our approach goes from identifying risk loci in a dog breed all the way to providing functional evidence of an identified mutation contributing to the disease development. Our goal is to provide information necessary for the future development of genetic testing, diagnostics and therapy for the dogs. Furthermore, the ultimate goal is to provide functional genomic data of the same mutations, genes and pathways being involved in the development of human homologous diseases.

The main research interest of the group is immunological and immune-mediated diseases, in particular autoimmune hypothyroidism and Addison’s disease. Both diseases present with remarkable phenotypic similarities in dogs and humans.

Our projects provide an opportunity to acquaint yourself with current laboratory techniques and bioinformatics analysis tools for population disease genetic analysis. We offer a challenging environment with close collaborations between veterinarians, geneticists, molecular biologists and human medical doctors.

The project corresponds to 30 credits.

If you are intersted in the project, please contact:
Gerli Rosengren Pielberg
Dept of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, UU