John Sundberg, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVP


Veterinary pathologist contributing to many aspects of disease research at JAX, with a research program focusing on genetic skin diseases.

There is an old saying that "pathology is the mother of medicine." Diseases, and more specifically the discipline of studying diseases (pathology), are why we have medicine and biomedical research. Correctly identifying a disease and the various processes each disease undergoes as it develops is the basis of most work done at The Jackson Laboratory. Through a collaborative effort of scientists in our Jackson Aging Center, we are identifying strain-specific diseases in 32 heavily used inbred strains of mice and, using modern genetic technologies, are mapping the genes responsible for many of these diseases. As humans get similar diseases as they age, this information will be vitally important to studying complex genetic diseases associated with aging. 

Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease featuring hair loss, is a long-term focus of our laboratory group.We have identified four regions of the mouse genome that contain susceptibility genes for alopecia areata and have identified a critical gene in the primary effect or cells. We are also characterizing how drug targets change during the development and progression of the disease and are working to make new diagnostic and prognostic tools available to the medical community. We also work on projects investigating chronic proliferative dermatitis and B6 alopecia as well as characterizing mutant mice with hair medulla defects and a new spontaneous mutant with blistering of the skin.

Grants, awards and accomplishments


2008 ACVP Very Important Pathologists Program, member

2008 John Ebbling Lectureship, The European Hair Research Society 

2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine 

2006 Silver Fern Award, New Zealand Laboratory Animal Science Society 

1980 Gamma Sigma Delta (Honorary Society of Agriculture) 

1978 DuPont-Haskell Laboratories Fellowship in Veterinary Pathology 

1977 Phi Zeta (Honorary Veterinary Fraternity) 

1976 Phi Zeta Research Paper Award 

1975 Mead-Johnson Summer Fellowship in Veterinary Pathology 

1973 Animal Science Award 

1973 Elmer Towne Dairy Science Award 


1. NIH R01 AR049288. Cpdm: Cloning a Gene that Regulates Eosinophil Function. Principal Investigator. 

2. NIH R01 AR056635. Genetics of alopecia areata in the C3H/HeJ mouse. Principal Investigator. 

3. NIH/NCI R01 CA089713. Electronic Access to Mouse Tumor Data. Co-Investigator. 

4. NIH R01 AR055225. Model systems for PXE. Subcontract Principal Investigator. 

5. NIH R01 AR063702. Skeletal Phenotyping of KOMP Mice. Subcontract PI. 

6. NIH R13 OD010920. Pathology of the Laboratory Mouse. Principal Investigator. 

7. NIH R21 AR063781. Discovering Novel Gene Networks for Skin Diseases. Principal Investigator. 

8. DEBRA UK. Modeling the Genetics onf Epidermolysis Bullosa in Mice. Co-principal investigator. 


1. DEBRA International. (submitted 15 Sept 2014) 

2. NIH R01 Discovering Novel Gene Networks for Skin Diseases. Principal Investigator. (conversion of R21, to be submitted 5 Oct 2014). 

3. NIH R01 Genetic modifiers of junctional epidermolysis bullosa. Co-PI. (to be submitted 5 Feb 2015). Others currently under discussion potentially for 5 Oct 2014 deadline.