Gerli Rosengren Pielberg research group

Comparative Genetics of Immunological Diseases towards Functional Genomics

The overall aim of the research group 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 general and Lymphocytic Thyroiditis in particular. Lymphocytic Thyroiditis is one of the most frequent endocrinopathies in dogs, affecting multiple breeds. The disease is characterized by autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland resulting in functional failure of the thyroid. The homologous disease in humans is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, resembling most clinical aspects of the disease in dogs.

The project is performed in close collaboration with Prof. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh and researchers from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Group members

Research leader: Gerli Pielberg