Susanna Cirera

Susanna Cirera


I am catalan, born in Barcelona. I moved to Denmark in 1997 and since them I am living happily with my family in this country.

I am biologist with a strong background in Genetics. I finished my education in Biology in 1990 in the University of Barcelona. I completed my PhD in 1997 in Population Genetics of Drosophila at the same university. After that, I made several postdoctoral projects in different places (in Barcelona and in Denmark at KU and old-KVL) with focus on molecular biology, comparative genomics and functional genomics. I have a lot of experience in sequencing, gene cloning, library construction, expression studies (Northern, real-time RT-PCR, array technology, Next-generation sequencing technologies) and in basic bioinformatics. I have been working with several model organisms: Drosophila, humans, plants, pigs, dogs and cats.

At present, I actively participate in several projects focusing in comparative genomics using the pig to model human obesity. And I also collaborate with the small animal clinics in 3 main projects profiling microRNAs as biomarkers for disease in dogs and cats.

I am involved in teaching at several courses at the University of Copenhagen and I also teach a lecture at the Technical University of Denmark.

I supervise Bachelor, Master, PhD, and PostDoc students.

Due to my expertise, I also like to help other researchers within the field of microRNA, RNA isolation and gene expression. So don't hesitate to contact me for a meeting if you need help.

I am also a member of the PhD study board at SUND, KU.

Primære forskningsområder

  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Mammalian Genomics
  • Gene expression
  • Profiling microRNAs as disease biomarkers 
  • Pig as a model for obesity

Aktuel forskning

  • Revealing the role of ncRNAs in disease with special focus in microRNAs.

MicroRNAs have recently emerged as powerful regulators of gene expression at post-transcriptional level and play important roles in many biological processes and in disease. The rapid pace of the emerging field of microRNAs has open new avenues for development of suitable techniques to quantitatively determine microRNAs expression level in different model systems. We have developed a new qPCR assay to specifically quantify the amount of microRNAs in different tissue samples. Furthermore, the next-generation sequencing technique provides us with profiles of microRNAs expressed in biological samples and allows the discovery of novel ncRNAs. The microRNAs differentially expressed in disease could be promising diagnostic markers in the near future.

 I am involved in 3 main projects:

1) Discovering fecal microRNA expression profiles as biomarkers of GI cancer/IBD  in dogs & cats (funded by FTP)

2) Identification of urinary MicroRNAs as biomarkers of Pyelonephritis in cats (funded by AGRIA)

3) MicroRNAs as biomarkers in non-infectious inflammatory CNS disease in dogs (funded by AGRIA)

I have developed a method for microRNA detection by qPCR which is highly used and cited by other scientists (Balcells et al. 2011).

  • Pig as a model for human diseases, with focus on obesity

Due to its similarity in organ sizes, metabolic features, cardiovascular systems, dietary habits and fat deposition the pigs provide an exceptional model for many human diseases including obesity.  i.e. characterization of the genes and pathways involved in obesity in pigs will open up new research avenues in the management of human obesity-related health issues. We have established a Bio-bank of porcine tissues from around 600 lean and fat animals which represent a unique resource for functional studies in obesity related health issues.

I have several projects in collaboration with Novo Nordisk towards the characterization of Göttingen Minipig as a model for NASH and obesity in humans.

Undervisnings- og vejledningsområder

  • Course responsible of "Mammalian Genomics" in Biotechnology education at KU
  • Lectures in "Biomedicine" differentiation (Genetics part) in Veterinary education at KU
  • Lecture in the Assay Technology course at DTU
  • Supervision of Bachelor, Master, PhD and PostDoc students 


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