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Suvi Mäkeläinen

Suvi Mäkeläinen
Researcher at the Department of Clinical Sciences on the genetic reasons behind different inherited diseases.


My research concentrates on how changes in the genome lead to different genetic diseases. I'm using bioinformatics as well as experimentall methods to try to understand how genes and gene regulation works in healthy individuals and which genetic changes lead to disease. 

My main research interest are the genetic reasons behind inherited retinal degeneration (IRD) that leads to visual problems and blindness in both dogs and humans. The comparative value of these studies has shown to be important for new state-of-art therapy methods such as gene therapy for human patients, as well as to reduce the number of affected dog patients by the development of new genetic tests and thereby improving the health of our canine companions. Our IRD research group includes both veterinarians, geneticists, bioinformaticians and doctoral students at SLU and Uppsala university.

In addition to eye diseases, I have have multiple projects in other genetic diseases in dogs, cats and horses where we are looking for the genetic variant that leads to the disease phenotype. I am also affiliated to Kerstin Lindblad-Toh's research group at Uppsala university, where my main research focus is in cancer genomics and the mutations in the non-coding genome that lead to cancer.


I did my bachelor studies at the Helsinki university concentrating on animal genetics and made my BSc thesis in linear description in riding horse breeding evaluation, after which i worked at Suomen Hippos, an organisation responsible for horse breeding and registration in Finland. During my BSc education I made an intership at Göttingen university in Germany and got interested in molecular biology while working on a project aiming to find a candidate gene for visual problems in cows. I did my MSc studies in the Netherlands at Wageningen university and wrote my major thesis in equine osteochondrosis and minor thesis in bioinformatics and cancer research. After my MSc I moved to Sweden for my doctoral studies. I finished my doctoral thesis in 2020 with the title Canine inherited retinal degenerations: a model for visual impairment in humans. After my PhD I continued as a post-doctoral researcher in cancer genomics and bioinformatics at Kerstin Lindblad-Toh's and Karin Forsberg-Nilssons research group at Uppsala university. Today my research combines both comparative disease genomics at SLU as well as cancer genomics at Uppsala university.


Co-supervisor of Melina Martin – MSc in bioinformatics, Uppsala universitet, 2023 Developing a reproducible bioinformatics workflow for canine inherited retinal disease Link to the thesis

Co-supervisor of Emma Hjorth – Veterinary program's degree project, SLU, 2021 Genetisk bakgrund till ärftlig retinal degeneration hos lagotto romagnolo
Link to the thesis

Co-supervisor of Anna Darlene van der Heiden – MSc in Animal Science, SLU, 2019 Establishing a canine genome sequencing protocol using Oxford Nanopore
Link to the thesis

Co-supervisor of Dilovan Kamil – BSc in biology, Uppsala university, 2018

Co-supervisor of Skrollan Hasse Kampling – BSc in biology, Uppsala university, 2018

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