Anna Hielm-Björkman

DVM, PhD, docent, CVA (IVAS)

Principal investigator


Anna is the leader of the DogRisk reseaerch group. She works as a senior researcher, PI (principal investigator) and teacher at the department on Equine and Small Animal Medicine at the Veterinary Faculty by the University of Helsinki in Finland. 80% of her time goes to research and she works with patients once a week. A lot of her time goes to securing funding for her researchers and the administration of her research group. Her main areas of interest are why chronic diseases in dogs and humans occur, how the disease process proceeds and the role of nutrition in these both. She also has a strong background in chronic pain management, acupuncture, other "non-conventional" therapies, un-heated dog foods (also called raw, fresh or BARF), and nutraceuticals.

University researcher page:

Orchid ID:

CV here.

Johanna Anturaniemi (nee Roine)

PhD (Animal science), academic agronomist, DVM student

Nutrition Clinic for Dogs and Cats


Johanna has been working in DogRisk group since 2008, and has been working in two clinical trials on osteoarthritis in dogs and one study of chronic urinary tract infections in dogs. In her PhD study she studied Canine atopic dermatitis in Staffordshire bull terriers, and she defended her dissertation in 2018. In addition, she started her veterinary studies in 2017. Her areas of interest are genetics, nutrition, nutrigenomics, and metabolomics.

Robin Moore

Master’s Student


Canine Metabolomics / Metabonomics

In the DogRisk atopy project Robin uses statistical and biochemical analysis of metabolomic data in order to study how dietary intake associate with disease risks in dogs. Robin began his studies at the University of Helsinki in Fall 2012, majoring in organic chemistry and minoring in molecular biology. Prior to joining the DogRisk group Robin has participated as a researcher in several other research groups, including a year studying the structures of protein complexes responsible for mediating tick-borne diseases in humans under Prof. Adrian Goldman and Dr. Taru Meri.

Hanna Sinkko

PhD, microbial ecologist.

I'm working with microbiomes, focusing on associations between dogs' microbiota (skin and gut) and dietary factors, lifestyle as well as environment and their role in allergy.

Susanna Paavilainen

CEO of Suomen hajuerottelu - WiseNose Ry DogRisk research group

Cancer Detection Dog Study - Dog trainer, study co-ordinator

Susanna has been involved in the DogRisk group since 2015 and was the one starting the Cancer Sniffing Dog Project, as well as starting the WiseNose non-profit organization. She takes care of the Dog Lab were the dogs are trained and the handling and freezing of the urine and cancer samples. She is also the main recruiter of dogs and handles our co-operation with the military, border security, police and international contacts. Susanna's main goal together with us, is to get a Nobel price for her scent detection dog Kössi!

Niina Siljander

President of WiseNose Ry

Cancer Detection Dog Study - Head dog trainer

Niina has, like Susanna, been in the "business" from the start. She has 2 dogs trained first as mold dogs and now both of them also find canine mammary (breast cancer) with as sensitivity and specificity of 80-100%, depending on the day. Nina trains with us every week, holds courses for other dog owners and that way gets us new good dogs into the cancer team. She has a history as medical laboratory personnel and therefore has a scientific approach to her dog work.

Ilkka Hormila

During his police K9-career of over 40 years Hormila worked for example at The Police Dog
Training Centre as a teacher for K9 Scent Detection Unit training, tracking, search, ID-detection and Explosive and Arson and Cadaver detection dogs, and also served in operational duties with his own dogs. Ilkka has worked in co-operation with the Search & Rescue dog handlers for decades and has been teaching ID- and SAR-search also for common dog owners. Hormila is an internationally respected lecturer and trainer among the Officials and the SAR-dog handlers, and works all over Europe and also in Asia.

Stella Barrouin-Melo

Professor, DVM, PhD

Professor Stella Barrouin is a veterinarian, lecturer and researcher in the fields of small animal internal medicine and immunology at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. She participates in nutrition and metabolomic studies in the DogRisk project as affiliated with this research group since September 2013, when she started her postdoc research in the DogRisk group at the University of Helsinki, which was concluded in August 2014. The correlation between nutrition and immuno-inflammatory aspects of canine diseases also equivalent to human conditions, particularly the interactions between food, microbiota, intestinal local immunology and systemic immune responses have been her main subjects of study. Among our common objectives is to develop a multicenter study on nutritional and metabolical aspects related to canine health and disease, including the comparison between data obtained in different environmental conditions such as the tropical South America and temperate Nordic Europe.

Sara Zaldivar-Lopez

Post Doc researcher


Sara uses integrative genomics for the identification of disease, disease-causing mutations or variations, and response to disease (e.g. resistance), using domestic animals as natural models of disease. She has been working as a postdoc already before both in the USA and in Spain and is presently also back in Cordoba, Spain as she has no funding from Finland.She is still writing articles together with the group and mainly works with the nutrigenomic and nutri-haematological aspects of the diseases that the group is looking at.