Projects supported by the innovation centre

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Genome canada projects

2012 Personnalized Health Competition
  • Personalized risk stratification for the prevention and early detection of breast cancer

    Principal Investigators :
    Jacques Simard, PhD - Université Laval
    Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD - Centre of Genomics and Policy (CGP), McGill University

    Towards an optimal breast cancer prevention and treatment strategy

    Each year, over 22,000 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that will claim the lives of 5,000 of them. Right now, routine mammography is used to screen for breast cancer in women over the age of 50, even though nearly one-quarter of the cases occur in women 35 to 49.

    The project aims to develop a genomic tool for breast cancer risk management that could help optimize prevention, improve prognosis and treatment, and reduce costs to the healthcare system.

    Through involvement with the largest international consortium on the study of breast cancer, the project will help broaden existing knowledge in order to provide better risk stratification tools, fine tune intervention strategies and offer the population more effective tools.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Personalized medicine in the treatment of epilepsy

    Principal Investigators :
    Patrick Cossette, MD, PhD, Jacques Michaud, MD, PhD and Berge Minassian, MD - Centre hospitalier universitaire de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)

    New diagnostic test for epilepsy gives hope to patients with drug-resistant form of the disease

    Epilepsy affects approximately three percent of Canadians. Unfortunately anti-epileptic drugs are ineffective in about one-third of patients, who have a drug-resistant form of the disease. This form of epilepsy is extremely expensive to treat, with costs reaching an estimated $1.7 billion in Canada in 2012.

    The goal of this project is to develop a pharmacogenomic tool for the more accurate diagnosis of various forms of epilepsy, particularly those that are drug resistant. This decision-support tool would improve the lives of patients by giving them access to diagnostic information in a timelier manner, aiding their decision about treatment options, and helping to prevent cognitive decline in children. Introducing this tool to the Canadian health care system represents potential savings of nearly $12 million per year.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Personalized medicine strategies for molecular diagnostics and targeted therapeutics of cardiovascular diseases

    Principal Investigators :
    Jean-Claude Tardif, MD and Marie-Pierre Dubé, PhD - Montreal Heart Institute (MHI)

    Pharmacogenomic tests for cardiovascular diseases: Innovation for the health care system

    In 2010, 80,000 Canadians died from cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which represents 35 percent of all deaths in the country. At the moment, 1.3 million Canadians suffer from CVD, with associated costs reaching $22.2 billion a year - the highest proportion for the Canadian healthcare system.

    The goal of this project is to develop pharmacogenomic tests that would render more effective the management of patients with CVD. These decision-support tools developed for health managers would present many benefits:

    • Improved treatments, with reduced negative effects
    • Greater patient confidence in the treatment and in turn better compliance
    • Reduced costs to the Canadian health care system
    • Better market access for cardiovascular drugs and diagnostic tests

    These tests will have an immediate, lasting impact on the economic front and in clinical practice, both here and around the world.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • IBD Genomic Medicine Consortium (iGenoMed)

    Principal Investigators :
    John D. Rioux, MD and Alain Bitton, MD - Montreal Heart Institute(MHI)

    Dawn of a new era for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases as personalized therapeutic approach may soon be here

    With its 230,000 reported cases, Canada has one of the world's highest rates of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. A variety of drugs currently exist to treat IBD, but, at the moment, doctors have no way of knowing which drug will work best for which patient.

    Dr. Rioux and his team are working on tests that would enable doctors to match the right drug with the right patient, avoiding the often costly and ineffective trial-and-error approach of selecting a drug. In addition to greatly improving the quality of life of those affected, this tool, once implemented, could help save the health care system more than $10 million a year in hospitalization and surgical costs.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Biomarkers for pediatric glioblastoma through genomics and epigenomics

    Principal Investigators :
    Nada Jabado, MD, PhD - McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
    Jacek Majewski, PhD et Tomi Pastinen, MD, PhD - McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Center

    New therapy for pediatric glioblastoma (brain cancer) could finally see the light of day

    Each year in Canada, 200 children and 300 young people are affected by glioblastoma. Unfortunately, with existing treatment options, 90 percent of patients will die within three years. A better understanding of the mutations involved in this form of cancer should help us improve the survival rate of these young people.

    The goal of this project is to develop and implement a diagnostic test for clinical trials that will stratify patients with glioblastomas. The test will make it possible to put in place a therapeutic strategy tailored to the mutations involved. This unprecedented approach will lead to better targeted, more effective treatments.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Enhanced CARE for RARE Genetic Diseases in Canada

    Principal Investigators :
    Kym Boycott, MD - Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
    Jacek Majewski, PhD - McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Center
    Alex MacKenzie, MD - Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

    Enhanced CARE for RARE Genetic Diseases in Canada

    The human genome is made up of approximately 22,000 functional units known as genes. Mutations in these genes not only cause well recognized disorders such as muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis, but also thousands of other rare but nonetheless serious diseases impacting hundreds of thousands of Canadians ( Many single-gene disorders are undiagnosed and most of these frequently serious conditions are currently untreatable; together they represent one of the greatest unmet medical challenges of the 21st century. CARE for RARE is a collaborative pan-Canadian project configured to improve the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases.

    We will use new powerful DNA sequencing methods to provide a molecular diagnosis to over 500 patients and discover 60 new rare disease genes. Working with key provincial stake-holders we will also take steps to move these sequencing methods from the research realm to general clinical use. The identification of new rare disease genes provides useful biological information, which is often significant in our understanding of human health. Most importantly, making a clear DNA-based diagnosis has direct and immediate clinical impact while saving health care dollars; invasive diagnostic investigations will cease, the patients prognosis and clinical management going forward will frequently become clearer, ineffectual treatments can be safely halted, a definitive treatment may be available, and a precise prediction of the chance of the disease happening in future offspring can be provided.

    Ultimately, the hope for any genetic disorder is, where possible and in addition to an accurate diagnosis, treatment. We will thus also initiate a low cost and rapid computer and laboratory experiment-based exploration of therapies initially starting with approximately 100 rare disorders. We will test drugs that are currently in clinical use and expect that our analysis will identify at least one that will be ready for clinical evaluation by the project's end date. Although this may appear to be a small number, the most important outcome will be to validate this approach for the many hundreds of other rare diseases that are currently untreatable. We will also integrate with national and international networks to enable rapid global dissemination of our research findings and approaches, thereby contributing to the global understanding and diagnosis of rare disorders. The personalized diagnostic and therapeutic approaches we propose here for rare diseases will help consolidate Canada's position as a leader in this critical realm.

    Source: Genome Canada

2010 Large Scale Applied Research Project Competition
  • AdapTree: Assessing the Adaptive Portfolio of Reforestation Stocks for Future Climates

    Project Leader :
    Sally Aitken, University of British Columbia
    Andreas Hamann, University of Alberta

    Scientists are sequencing two of the most important western Canadian trees - lodgepole pine and spruce, to better understand what genes are involved in adaptation to local climate conditions. This will lead to ensuring that the right trees get planted in the right climactic areas improve the long-term health of forests and generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars every year. A range of stakeholders have been engaged to better understand the socioeconomic issues involved, leading to policy recommendations for better forestry management.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • BEEM: Bioproducts and Enzymes from Environmental Metagenomes

    Project Leader :
    Elizabeth Edwards, U. of Toronto
    David Major, Geosyntec Consultants (Guelph)

    This team of chemical engineers, biologists and policy experts will apply their knowledge of gene sequencing and computer modeling to identify, screen, analyze and clone new proteins. They will determine their potential as catalysts to transform low-value plant residues and waste products into valuable bioproducts. They will screen for communities of microbes that are essential to the fermentation of renewable agricultural or waste materials to convert them into fuel. They will also search for microbial communities that can be used to restore contaminated land and water, by understanding their natural function as one of nature's recyclers to break down the pollution at contaminated sites. The viability of new biotransformation processes will carefully be assessed considering economic, policy and regulatory constraints.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Harnessing Microbial Diversity for Sustainable Use of Forest Biomass Resources

    Project Leader :
    Lindsay Eltis and William Mohn, University of British Columbia

    A key part of remaining competitive in the forestry products industry involves better management of forest biomass - a rich source of biofuels, feedstocks and other lignin-based products such as resins and carbon fibers. With funding from Genome Canada, scientists are exploring the microorganisms found in soil that naturally degrade biomass. Unlocking the potential of forest biomass will lead to better forest management practices and improve the economics of lignin-based products. To expedite the wider use of these innovations, an integrated GE3LS component is investigating key technological, commercial organizational, environmental and societal issues.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Genomics-Based Forest Health Diagnostics and Monitoring

    Project Leader :
    Richard Hamelin, Université de Colombie-Britannique

    Genome Canada is funding research that is developing DNA-based diagnostic tests to identify and monitor tree pathogens. It will produce annual economic benefits in the tens of millions of dollars for the forest and nursery industry by reducing losses from disease. There are significant commercialization opportunities through the sale of these diagnostic tools on world markets. The project will undertake the largest forest pathogen sequencing effort in the world, helping to fill in gaps in our understanding of these threats. An integrated GE3LS component will generate insights into the commercialization of these tools and examine the public policy issues and social acceptance of using genomics technologies in the current forestry management framework.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Improving Bioremediation of Polluted Soils Through Environmental Genomics

    Project Leader :
    B. Franz Lang and Mohamed Hijri, Université de Montréal

    Genome Canada is funding research into phytoremediation - a promising new biotechnology that uses plants to clean up pollutants in the soil. Part of the research involves sequencing selected microbes that are most effective in soil detoxification, which will place important new data in the public domain. Remediation services represent a market of over $30 billion in Canada and this sector has grown every year for the past decade. This project will, therefore, yield significant economic benefits for Canada, rehabilitate soil and create a healthier environment. The project will also develop a step-by-step methodology for sustainability assessments for site rehabilitation, including a toolkit for boards of directors and legal guidelines for governments and corporations.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • SMarTForest: Spruce Marker Technologies for Sustainable Forestry

    Project Leader :
    John MacKay, Université Laval
    Jörg Bohlmann, University of British Columbia

    Genome Canada is funding the development of marker technologies to identify seedlings that have superior growth and wood properties, or superior insect resistance. Genetic marker systems and biomarkers will be developed and applied to Canadian forestry programs. Using methods such as ?Marker Aided Selection? (MAS) also enables wood production to be concentrated on a smaller land area, allowing more forest to be set aside for conservation. Over the longer term, these methods will also enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian forestry by boosting yield and enhancing the value of its products. The project will conduct impact analyses of the economic, socio-economic as well as the legal and policy instruments that could affect the use of MAS in provincial jurisdictions and help develop high value jobs in rural communities by diversifying the ?bioproduct? pipeline.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • Orphan Diseases: Identifying Genes and Novel Therapeutics to Enhance Treatment (IGNITE)

    Project Leader :
    Christopher McMaster and Conrad Fernandez, Dalhousie University

    One in twelve Canadians suffers from an ?orphan disease?. The discovery of effective treatment for these conditions is often hampered by inadequate scientific understanding of the condition, limited resource allocation to study these diseases and the cost of new drug development. While individually rare, these diseases have a cumulative socio-economic and health effect on three million Canadians. Now, gene discovery is offering new hope for new therapies. Building on the successful Atlantic Medical Genetics and Genomics Initiative, scientists are developing new therapies to orphan disease patients in a shorter time, at reduced costs. With funding from Genome Canada, researchers are working to: discover genes responsible for these diseases; locate therapeutic targets; and identify small molecules and drug leads that could lessen the impact of these diseases. Researchers are also focusing on using or converting existing drugs to more rapidly address unmet medical needs. As part of their work, researchers are examining the ethical issues affecting orphan disease patients including evaluating international regulatory models for orphan drugs and the needs of individual recipients.

    Source: Genome Canada

  • CTAG - Canadian Triticum Advancement through Genomics

    Project Leader :
    Curtis J. Pozniak and Pierre Hucl, University of Saskatchewan

    Wheat is a major Canadian crop, generating over $11 billion annually in value-added food. Current breeding programs utilize some genomic tools, but the full potential of genomics is not being realized. New breakthroughs in sequencing technology allow scientists to characterize genes at the most basic level - the DNA sequence. It is this sequence that holds the key to enhancing the rate of genetic gain in wheat. Remarkably, the wheat genome is five times the size of the human genome and is being coordinated by the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium. With funding from Genome Canada, Canadian scientists are playing a key role in the consortium, sequencing chromosome 6D which is itself larger than the genome of rice. Together with its international partners, Canada is identifying the genes that wheat breeders can use to develop the next generation of wheat cultivars. GEL3S researchers are examining the role of public-private partnerships in wheat genomics and breeding research and will recommend strategies to maximize return on investment. This is particularly timely, given the increasing private investment in wheat genomics and breeding.

    Source: Genome Canada

ABC Competition
  • Synthetic Biosystems for the Production of High Value Plant Metabolites

    Principal Investigators : Vincent Martin and Peter Facchini (Génome Québec and Genome Alberta)

    The main outcomes of this project are: (1) a public resource of genomic and metabolic information for 75 plants that produce a huge number of important natural products; (2) yeast strains that produce high-value natural plant products; (3) a catalogue of new enzymes for use as catalysts in synthetic biology applications; (4) the invention of functional-genomics methods for describing metabolic pathways and identifying unknown biosynthetic genes from plants; and (5) an analysis of regulatory, ethical, and economic subjects, which will help to ensure sound and responsible plant-technology development.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Genozymes for Bioproducts and Bioprocesses Development

    Principal Investigator : Adrian Tsang (Génome Québec)

    To move from a fossil-fuel based economy to a bioeconomy based on converting plant material into energy, researchers need to isolate the proteins involved in the process that converts woody biomass (lignocellulose) into simple sugars. Those sugars are the basic blocks required to build the advanced biofuels and biochemicals that can turn agricultural and urban waste into products and energy. Once developed, those new enzymes will become the cornerstones for the development of large-scale industrial biorefineries that process biomass into biofuels and biochemicals. We also plan to develop enzyme supplements to use in cattle feed, reducing the amount of grain necessary to ensure a nutritious feed product. That development would stabilize the cost of feed for farmers and could cut food costs overall. The enzymes we develop will also help the pulp and paper industry reduce the amount of energy it requires and the pollution the pulping process generates.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Bridging Comparative, Population and Functional Genomics to Identify and Experimentally Validate Novel Regulatory Regions and Genes for Crop Improvement

    Principal Investigator : Thomas Bureau (Génome Québec)

    The team will determine the whole-genome sequence of several close relatives of Arabidopsis and canola, using this information for within species and between species comparative studies. Non-coding DNA regions will be identified by computer-based predictions and will be validated by experiments that use population genetics and genomic methods. Important findings will be protected for further exploitation. The project will identify non-coding DNA regions that will have proven potential for crop improvement and also generate valuable data, expertise and trained personnel that will provide the basis for future crop-improvement applications.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Genomics of Sunflower

    Principal Investigator : Loren Rieseberg (Genome BC)

    The sunflower family (Compositae; so-called because their flowering heads are made up of many tiny flowers), is the largest plant family on earth, with over 24,000 described species, roughly 10% of all flowering plant species. They include economically important crops (sunflowers, lettuce, artichokes), beautiful wildflowers (daisies), common allergens (ragweed, goldenrod), valuable medicinals and costly invasive plants and rangeland weeds (thistles, dandelions). Despite the wide diversity and economic importance of plants in this family, there is no genome sequence for any of these species, or even any plants from closely related families. This has delayed genetic research and crop breeding. The project will increase the speed and precision of sunflower-breeding programs by identifying molecular markers for beneficial genes that encode important agricultural traits such as seed-oil content and flowering time. We will exploit Canada's strong genomics infrastructure and leadership in Compositae genomics and use this infrastructure and expertise to full advantage in collaboration with experts world-wide.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Total Utilization Flax Genomics

    Principal Investigators : Gordon Rowland and Sylvie Cloutier (Genome Alberta)

    Flax is becoming a very popular food ingredient. For example, flax seed is rich in omega-3, which is implicated in human brain functions, reducing "bad" cholesterol, and moderating the risk of heart disease. Flax seed is also a rich source of plant-estrogens, which are associated with reduced risks of some cancers. Flax seeds are used in many industrial processes, including linoleum, solvents, paints, car panels and composites. Flax is an unusual crop in that it yields two different kinds of product?seed and fibres. The straw produces a strong and longlasting fibre that is used to make linen cloth, one of its ancient applications; flax fibre is also used to replace fibre-glass in composites, and in the manufacture of fire logs, paper and other similar products. This research project will create information and genomic tools that will accelerate flax research and create opportunities for advancements on flax yield and applications that were undreamt of only a short while ago.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Metagenomics for Greener Production and Extraction of Hydrocarbon Energy: Creating Opportunities for Enhanced Recovery with Reduced Environmental Impact

    Principal Investigator : Gerrit Voordouw (Genome Alberta)

    Canada recognizes the necessity to transition global energy production towards renewable resources. But until the technologies exist to make it economically feasible to do so, Canada's oil, gas and coal must be extracted in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This project is designed to minimize the environmental impact of oil sands production, by decreasing its use of water and emission of greenhouse gases and by enhancing the extraction of clean burning gas from coal beds. By designing new biotechnologies that decrease the energy and water required currently for oil sands extraction and by enhancing methane production from coal beds this project will help to ensure that both Canada and the world's current energy requirements are met with the smallest environmental impact possible. The accomplishment of this aim will help Canada's energy production become an environmentally sustainable enterprise.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Genomics-Enhanced Forecasting Tools to Secure Canada's Near-Term Lignocellulosic Feedstock Supply for Bioenergy using the Mountain Pine Beetle System

    Principal Investigators : : Jorg Bohlmann and Janice Cooke (Genome BC and Genome Alberta)

    The recent mountain pine beetle outbreak in British Columbia, now spreading into Alberta, has caused unprecedented damage to the Canadian forest industry. The current infestation has affected more than 14 million hectares of pine forests and is the largest such epidemic in recorded history. Conifer forests are Canada's largest renewable source of ligno-cellulose, used for energy production, paper and wood products. Understanding the biology of the mountain pine beetle in order to use that knowledge for anticipating and helping to control future outbreaks is an important contribution to Canadian forest economics, particularly related to energy production. Although massive amounts of dead timber from the mountain pine beetle epidemic have created an unexpected surplus of potential energy feedstock, this will not necessarily provide a sustainable feedstock supply in the future. Before strategic investments are made in the forest industry, current methods of predicting feedstock need to be improved. The overall goal of the project is to generate new genomics-based information and tools for improved prediction of renewable energy feedstock supply from conifer forests, using the current mountain pine beetle epidemic as an example of an important hostpest-pathogen system.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Microbial Genomics for Biofuels and Co-products from Biorefining Processes

    Principal Investigators : David Levin and Richard Sparling (Genome Prairie)

    As the world faces the reality of peak oil, serious efforts are being made to develop renewable energy sources that can displace our dependence on fossil fuels. One promising alternative fuel source is biological production (biofuels), in which fuels such as ethanol are produced from a wide variety of agricultural feed stocks. Current production of ethanol involves microbial fermentation of the sugars derived from sugarcane (in Brazil) or the starch from grain (predominantly corn in the US and eastern Canada, and wheat in the prairie provinces of Canada), followed by distillation of the ethanol from the fermentation broths. However, the long-term prospects of grain-based ethanol production is in question because the cost of the feed stocks makes up a large fraction of the total costs of production, and the use of food grains has very negative implications for food prices. Thus, abundant, low-cost feed stocks from other sources are essential for the commercial viability of biofuel production. We will carry out a full genomic characterization of known and new bacteria that are selected for their ability to contribute to a variety of metabolic processes. On the basis of this information, the project will produce metabolically engineered bacteria with enhanced fuel and co-product synthesis characteristics, and will combine appropriate bacterial strains to create communities (or "consortia") of microorganisms for industrial application. The aim is to enable biorefineries to generate products (ethanol, hydrogen, and co-products) from relatively low-cost feed stocks of ligno-cellulosics, thus increasing their economic-viability. The goal is to help establish Canada as a leader in the production of biofuels and bioplastics.

    For mor informations, consult :

Competition III
  • Arborea II

    Principal Investigators : John MacKay and Jean Bousquet (Génome Québec)

    Génomique pour la sélection moléculaire chez les résineux. Découverte de marqueurs génétiques visant à améliorer la productivité et la valeur de l'épinette grâce à la génomique fonctionnelle et la cartographie d'association.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • An Integrated Genetic/Physical Genome Map for the Old World Monkey, Cercopithecus aethiops

    Principal Investigator : Ken Dewar (Génome Québec)

    The Vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops, also known as the African Green monkey), is a non-endangered species native to southern Africa, and is a good model for studying neurological processes. The team will develop a comprehensive physical map of the genome of Cercopithecus aethiops, augmenting current knowledge based on genetic mapping (locating the position of particular genes on chromosomes), genotyping (testing for genetic variation) and pedigreed colonies (unique, specially maintained populations of Vervet monkey).

    For mor informations, consult :

  • The GRID Project: Gene Regulators in Disease

    Principal Investigator : Tomi M. Pastinen (Génome Québec)

    Gene regulation is the process of DNA and protein interactions in a gene that determines where and how the gene will be activated. Small differences in gene regulation among individuals can lead to disease susceptibility or resistance. By identifying the biological steps initiated by regulatory mechanisms, the research team expects to better understand how disease risk is modified. This in turn is expected to open the way to new treatments and health products. At the same time, the project will study the ethical implications and dimensions of this research, so that an appropriate framework for this and other projects can be developed.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Functional Annotation of Essential Alternatively Spliced Isoforms

    Principal Investigator : Sherif Abou Elela (Génome Québec)

    Now that the human genome has been sequenced, the race is on to discover the functions of potential genes. But in mammals, a single gene can produce numerous protein isoforms (multiple molecular forms of given proteins) through a process called "alternative pre-mRNA splicing", or AS. Defects in AS are believed to account for several well-known diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, spinal muscular atrophy and several types of cancer. But little is known about the biological mechanisms that control AS. The team will also study isoform specific inhibition and analyze phenotypes, while validating this knowledge by analysis of tissue samples from Canadian populations.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Identification and Characterization of Genes Involved in Common Developmental Brain Diseases

    Principal Investigator : Guy Armand Rouleau (Génome Québec)

    Schizophrenia and autism are severe brain diseases that result in enormous human suffering and high healthcare costs. Despite decades of research, the causes of these diseases are still largely unknown. However, both diseases are believed to be associated with genetic (inherited) factors, and can therefore be investigated using genomics. The team expects to identify 10 to 20 genes that directly cause or increase susceptibility to schizophrenia or autism. This in turn will open the way to development of new diagnostic tests, new treatments and improved clinical management for patients - which will be of benefit to health policymakers as well as the genetics and neurosciences research communities around the world.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Pharmacogenomics of Drug Efficacy and Toxicity in the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

    Principal Investigators : Jean-Claude Tardif and Michael S. Phillips (Génome Québec)

    No drug works well for all patients. Genetic differences among patients are believed to account for variations in drug responses. While genomics is opening the way to personalized, predictive and preventive medicine, pharmacogenomics in particular uses a patient's genetic information to predict individual responses to medication. This is important, since adverse drug reactions are a leading cause of hospitalization and mortality in Canada, the United States and Europe. The team aims to identify relevant biomarkers, which can then be used to develop diagnostic tests. This will help determine how patients will respond to treatments for cardiovascular disease based on their genetic profile. The project will also develop ethical guidelines to help plan future pharmacogenomics research, and will develop models and strategies to integrate genetic knowledge into health care practices.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Conifer Forest Health Genomics

    Principal Investigators : Jorg Bohlmann and Kermit Ritland (Genome BC)

    More than two-thirds of Canada's forest land consists of conifer forests - cone-bearing and usually evergreen trees that are used for softwood. These conifers are the mainstay of Canada's massive forest industry. Canada's conifer forests are increasingly threatened by outbreaks of insect pests and the impacts of climate change. But what is the genomic and biological basis of conifer defense response to forest pests? And how do conifers adapt to abiotic stress associated with changing environments? This project aims to identify the underlying genetic mechanisms of resistance to biotic disturbance (for example resistance to insects and insect associated pathogens) and adaptation to abiotic stress (for example regulation of bud set and cold hardiness). The project will also seek to identify and use the natural genetic variation of forest trees in order to support breeding for resistance and adaptation in conifers to improve forest health overall.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Atlantic Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development

    Principal Investigators : Sharen Bowman and Edward Trippel (Génome Atlantic)

    Traditional fisheries provide an important basis of cultural and economic activity in Atlantic Canada, although the fisheries for some species such as Atlantic salmon and Atlantic cod have severely declined. The decline in Atlantic salmon stocks served as an incentive to develop today's aquaculture sector, which generates more than $200 million of annual revenue in New Brunswick alone. One approach towards maintaining growth and stability of the aquaculture industry is diversification into rearing other species such as Atlantic cod. Current estimates show that cod farming in Newfoundland alone could generate more than $100 million in new wealth while meeting consumer demand for a high quality food resource. Cod breeding programs are being developed in countries such as Norway and Iceland. The Canadian aquaculture industry recognizes that broodstock selection is essential in order to produce superior cod stocks for farming. This program will be a partnership with industry, universities, government and Not-for-Profit organizations and will apply genomics technologies combined with family-based selective breeding methodologies to identify cod with traits of commercial importance, such as improved growth, delayed age of sexual maturation and resistance to disease and stress. The project will sequence genes in order to identify molecular markers that are associated with superior performance under farming conditions.

    For mor informations, consult :

  • Atlantic Medical Genetic and Genomics Initiative (AMGGI)

    Principal Investigators : Mark Samuels and Terry-Lynn Young (Génome Québec et Genome Atlantic)

    The Atlantic Medical Genetic and Genomics Initiative (AMGGI) project is a Canadian research initiative to identify new genes that have a major impact on health. AMGGI will utilize the Atlantic region's unique population structure and history, as well as the high quality of the health care system to provide a streamlined discovery process. The project will generate tangible socio-economic benefits by improving health care and disease management for individuals, families and communities in Atlantic Canada burdened by devastating single gene disorders. An important component of AMGGI will be to study the potential impacts of genetic discovery on the provision of health care services. Anticipated outcomes of AMGGI include medical breakthroughs based on novel gene discovery, the transfer of new knowledge to health care providers, health policy recommendations regarding the impact of genetic information on society, and improved clinical management of affected patients.

    For mor informations, consult :

Canadian institutes of health research (cihr) projects

Advancing Technology Innovation Through Discovery
  • Finding of Rare Disease Genes in Canada (FORGE CANADA)

    Project Leader : Dr. Kym Boycott

    Project Co-Leaders : Dr. Jacques Michaud and Dr. Jan Friedman

    Genetic disorders of children are individually rare but collectively frequent, affecting the lives of approximately 500,000 children in Canada. These disorders cause a variety of medical problems including birth defects, intellectual disability, difficulty with growth and organ failure. Most genes that cause these conditions have not yet been found, mainly because gene-discovery studies are difficult to perform when DNA from only a small number of affected children is available. Recently a new technology (called Next Generation Sequencing) has been developed which allows a person's entire genetic code (about 22,000 genes) to be analyzed within a few days at reasonable cost. This new type of DNA sequencing has revolutionized the study of rare genetic diseases because it is now possible to find disease-causing genes using a relatively small number of patients. We have created a large network of Canadian doctors and scientists who will now have access to this powerful technology for their patients. Through this national collaboration we will be able to rapidly identify many genes responsible for genetic disorders that affect children in this country and throughout the world. The Canadian Pediatric Genetic Disorders Sequencing (CPGDS) Consortium ( has 150 members and will ensure that Canada becomes a world leader in this exciting field. The consortium will allow for rapid gene discovery of rare childhood-onset disorders, with immediate and long-term health benefits for Canadian families. Our discoveries will lead to genetic tests that will allow earlier and more precise diagnoses. Better diagnoses will allow Canadian health care teams to reduce or prevent patient complications, to develop tailored treatments, and to provide more accurate reproductive counseling to families.

    Funding Information:

    Fiscal Year Amout
    2010-11 $1,225,000
    2011-12 $500,000
    Total: $1,725,000
    Source: Genome Canada

  • The Canadian Pediatric Cancer Genome Consortium: Translating next-generation sequencing technologies into improved therapies for high-risk childhood cancer

    Project Leader :Dr. Poul Sorensen

    In a project supported by Genome BC, Dr. Poul Sorensen, a Vancouver pediatric pathologist at the BC Cancer Agency/University of British Columbia is leading the team that will explore the genomes (DNA) of four of the most challenging childhood cancers known. Dr. Sorensen and his colleagues in the Canadian Pediatric Cancer Genome Consortium hope to find the link between primary and metastatic tumours using revolutionary genomics technology and a highly skilled consortium of scientists and clinicians. Other researchers participating in this work include: Steven Jones and Marco Marra (Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency); Michael D. Taylor, David Malkin, Cynthia Hawkins, and Annie Huang (Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto); Conrad Fernandez (Dalhousie University); Nada Jabado (McGill University); Daniel Sinnett (Universite de Montreal). The team will focus on medulloblastoma (brain cancer), metastatic osteosarcoma (bone cancer), Pediatric high grade glioma, and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (two other types of pediatric brain tumours) to uncover genetic abnormalities that direct tumour cells to spread or become resistant to treatment. They will examine and directly compare the genetic signature of each of these diseases in primary tumour cells and tumour cells that have metastasized or relapsed. These studies will produce a first-time view of the tumour genomes in these diseases. This insight not only provides immediate potential for improving tailored therapies for children with these lethal cancers, but will enable the future development of new drugs for patients who otherwise have limited options for treatment.

    Funding Information:

    Fiscal Year Amout
    2010-11 $1,275,000
    Source: Genome Canada

Génome québec projects

Human Health - General Stream
Human Health - Translational Stream
Pilot Projects