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Åsa Ohlsson

Åsa Ohlsson
In my research I mainly focus on the genetic reasons behind heart disease in cats, but I do not limit myself to that. I like to lecture to both students and breeders on the effects of selective breeding and health programs as well. I love to talk about cats, so feel free to ask me about that!


It may sound cliché, but I have always been interested in animals and their health and welfare. Therefore, it may not sound strange that I started my professional career as a veterinary nurse, before I later underwent my undergraduate education as a biotechnologist here at SLU in Uppsala. I defended my PhD-thesis in June 2010, on the subject of pathobiology, investigating the influence of chemicals on human steroidogenesis. But it has proven difficult to let go of my interest in animals and their health. In my spare time, I am deeply involved in the non-profit work around feline health programs against hip dysplasia and heart disease, which facilitated a change of research focus towards animal genetics, especially cats. So, here I am, and it suits me just perfect!


I am more than happy to assist with teaching here at SLU. This is made mainly in the form of:
— Lectures
— Lab tutorial
— Supervision of literature work


I am involved in several projects here at SLU where we evaluate genetic connections to diseases in cats, or heart disease in dogs. My main focus is the projects for which I am the PI; studying genetic predispositions for cardiomyopathy in cats, and dogs, as well as research focused on kidney disease in cats.
My research involves laboratory and bioinformatic studies of the cat and dog genome in search for an explanation for observed disease. In my work, I also use my old knowledge and qualifications as a former veterinary nurse and therefore work part-time at the heart clinic at the University Veterinary Hospital here at SLU. In my work there, I meet many cat owners who come for regular heart screening of their breeding cats and often have the privilege of sampling their cats for the benefit of my current and future research. The work at the heart clinic takes place in collaboration with cardiologists Jens Häggström and Ingrid Ljungvall. Appreciated support and cooperation for my research is also given by Professor Göran Andersson here at SLU and Professor Leslie Lyons at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, USA.
In addition to genetic studies, I also have experience in developing in vitro methods for molecular biological evaluations. I have studied toxic effects on human steroidogenesis, but also metabolic effects in thin tissue sections from horse lung, to mention a few.


Research funding

2023: FORMAS - Epigenetic modifications associated with development of cardiomyopathy

2021: Maj Johnsons fond - financial support for continued research on genetic predispositions for RCM in Sacred Birman cats

2021: Svenska Kvinnors Djurskyddsförening - financial support for project targeting kidney disease in the feline breeds of Siberian cats and Neva Masquerade

2021: Stiftelsen Sveland - financial support for project targeting kidney disease in the feline breeds of Siberian cats and Neva Masquerade

2019: Svenska Kvinnors Djurskyddsförening – suport for a research trip to USA

2017: FORMAS – Genetic markers associated with cardiomyopathy in cats



PhD in pathobiology, with a focus on food toxicology, 2010. Title: Steroidogenesis studied in a human adrenocortical cell line – effects of single chemicals and mixtures.

Ms in biology, with a directed focus on biotechnology, SLU, 2006.



2018-present. Researcher, Department of Animal Breeding & Genetics, Department of Animal Biosciences, SLU.

2017-juni 2018. Co-worker and acting CEO for SLU Biobank.

2016-2017. Researcher, Department of Animal Breeding & Genetics, SLU.

2016-2017. Researcher, Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU.

2010-2015. Researcher, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU..

2006-2010. PhD-student in pathobiology, with focus on food toxicology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU.

1999-2004. Veterinary nurse, Djursjukhuset i Jönköping AB, Jönköping.

Publications list: