Group Lohi

Canine Models of Human Diseases

We aim to understand the genetic origin of diseases. We pursue gene identification in dogs as a highly relevant model for human diseases. We have established a large Dog DNA bank with ~ 80,000 samples from over 330 different breeds. This provides a significant resource for various genetic studies.

Genetic studies using association and next generation sequencing approaches have been conducted or are running in numerous different conditions, including idiopathic epilepsy, ataxia, neurodegeneration, eye diseases, anxiety, and several developmental abnormalities. We have revealed a novel genetic loci and genes in many of the disorders and continue to validate and characterize the genes and related pathways in different models, including human patients. We have discovered several new genes for the conditions described above. This has provided new candidate genes for human conditions, improved understanding of the related disease mechanisms, and has enabled the development of new gene tests for diagnostic and breeding purposes in dogs. In addition, we are currently in a process of developing a novel metabolomic test for dogs as an additional diagnostic and research tool to support ongoing diseases studies.

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Senior Scientist

Hannes Lohi, PhD, professor, group leader
Marjo Hytönen, docent, administrative group leader

Post-Doctoral Scientists

Cesar Araujo
Meharji Arumilli
Maria Kaukonen
Milla Salonen

Visiting Scientists

Maria Kaukonen, DVM, PhD
Milla Salonen, PhD

Graduate Students

Tiina Heinonen
Salla Mikkola
Julia Niskanen
Emma Hakanen
Inka Penttinen

Undergraduate Students

Siiri Lappalainen, BSc
Sara Mikkonen, BSc


Sini Karjalainen, Laboratory Assistant

Metabolic fingerprinting of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy receiving a ketogenic medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.

Berk BA, Ottka C, Hong Law T, Packer RMA, Wessmann A, Bathen-Nöthen A, Jokinen TS, Knebel A, Tipold A, Lohi H, Volk HA. Front Vet Sci. 2022 Oct 6;9:935430. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2022.935430. eCollection 2022.

Fearfulness associates with problematic behaviors and poor socialization in cats.

Mikkola S, Salonen M, Hakanen E, Lohi H. iScience. 2022 Oct 3;25(10):105265. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105265. eCollection 2022 Oct 21.

Validation of a Chromosome 14 Risk Haplotype for Idiopathic Epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd Dog Found to Be Associated with an Insertion in the RAPGEF5 Gene.

Belanger JM, Heinonen T, Famula TR, Mandigers PJJ, Leegwater PA, Hytönen MK, Lohi H, Oberbauer AM. Genes (Basel). 2022 Jun 23;13(7):1124. doi: 10.3390/genes13071124.

Serum metabolomic profiles in dogs with chronic enteropathy.

Walker HK, Boag AM, Ottka C, Lohi H, Handel I, Gow AG, Mellanby RJ. J Vet Intern Med. 2022 Sep;36(5):1752-1759. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16419. Epub 2022 Jul 26.

Metabolic changes associated with two endocrine abnormalities in dogs: elevated fructosamine and low thyroxine.

Ottka C, Puurunen J, Müller E, Weber C, Klein R, Lohi H. Metabolomics. 2022 Jul 20;18(8):58. doi: 10.1007/s11306-022-01917-4.

Genetic epidemiology of blood type, disease and trait variants, and genome-wide genetic diversity in over 11,000 domestic cats.

Anderson H, Davison S, Lytle KM, Honkanen L, Freyer J, Mathlin J, Kyöstilä K, Inman L, Louviere A, Chodroff Foran R, Forman OP, Lohi H, Donner J. PLoS Genet. 2022 Jun 16;18(6):e1009804. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009804. eCollection 2022 Jun.

Metabolomic Abnormalities in Serum from Untreated and Treated Dogs with Hyper- and Hypoadrenocorticism.

Imbery CA, Dieterle F, Ottka C, Weber C, Schlotterbeck G, Müller E, Lohi H, Giger U. Metabolites. 2022 Apr 9;12(4):339. doi: 10.3390/metabo12040339.

Metabolomic serum abnormalities in dogs with hepatopathies.

Imbery CA, Dieterle F, Ottka C, Weber C, Schlotterbeck G, Müller E, Lohi H, Giger U. Sci Rep. 2022 Mar 29;12(1):5329. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-09056-5. PMID: 35351920

Aggressiveness, ADHD-like behaviour, and environment influence repetitive behaviour in dogs.

Sulkama S, Salonen M, Mikkola S, Hakanen E, Puurunen J, Araujo C, Lohi H. Sci Rep. 2022 Mar 24;12(1):3520. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-07443-6. PMID: 35332179

Age, breed, sex and diet influence serum metabolite profiles of 2000 pet dogs.

Puurunen J, Ottka C, Salonen M, Niskanen JE, Lohi H. R Soc Open Sci. 2022 Feb 16;9(2):211642. doi: 10.1098/rsos.211642. eCollection 2022 Feb. PMID: 35223061

Personality traits associate with behavioral problems in pet dogs.

Salonen M, Mikkola S, Hakanen E, Sulkama S, Puurunen J, Lohi H. Transl Psychiatry. 2022 Feb 23;12(1):78. doi: 10.1038/s41398-022-01841-0.

Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation

Sigrid Jusélius Foundation

Leonberger Health Foundation International

Folkhälsan Research Center

University of Helsinki

Dog and Cat Breed Clubs

Kinship Co


    • Hannes Lohi

      PhD, Professor, Group Leader

    • Tel:
      +358 50 319 9319

    • Contact
    • Marjo Hytönen

      PhD, Administrative Group Leader

    • Tel:
      +358 50 319 9322

    • Contact