Lab Canada

Restructured genome network launched with $15M funding

Ottawa, ON – Genome Canada has created a new Genomics Innovation Network that is being launched with $15.5 million in funding. The network is comprised of ten nodes, each receiving core operational funding from Genome Canada, with matching funds from various public and private sector partners.

Each node will provide Canadian and international researchers with access to the technologies required for research in genomics, metabolomics, proteomics and related areas. The nodes will also be well positioned to develop new technologies in genomics and related sciences.

Furthermore, the highly-qualified personnel within each node are intended to provide the Canadian research community with advice and expertise on use and selection of appropriate technologies, study design, data analysis and bioinformatics, ensuring that Canadian research remains world-class and highly competitive on a global scale.

Each node will receive from $800,000 to $2 million in federal funds over two years, beginning April 1. Co-funding investments in the nodes from other partners, including provincial governments, academic institutions, and the private sector at a required minimum 1:1 ratio, bring the total initial funding in the network to approximately $31 million. 

The 10 nodes are as follows:

–        The Proteomics Centre. Node leaders: Christoph Borchers, Leonard Foster. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia. The Proteomics Centre is a central hub for proteomics research in Canada, providing a “one-stop” shop for an expansive range of high-quality proteomics services.

–        Sequencing Platform at the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre. Node leaders: Rob Holt, Marco Marra. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia. Since 2001, the sequencing platform at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency has been providing large-scale DNA sequencing data and supporting the rapid translation of research outcomes into healthcare and other applications.

–        The Metabolomics Innovation Centre. Node leaders: David Wishart, Christoph Borchers. Lead Genome Centre: Genome Alberta. The Metabolomics Innovation Centre is Canada’s national metabolomics core facility and technology development centre, providing researchers with world-class resources for studying the thousands of small molecule metabolites that play key roles in biological pathways.

–        Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics. Node leader: Colin McKerlie. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics Institute. The Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics is the largest research facility in Canada designing, producing, and studying more than 250 mouse models each year with specific genetic mutations that allow researchers to learn more about the causes of disease and develop improved treatments.

–        Network Biology Collaborative Centre. Node leaders: Jeff Wrana, Anne-Claude Gingras. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics Institute. The Network Biology Collaborative Centre provides services to Canadian scientists with a focus on functional understanding of the role of genes and gene products in human health and the impact of their alteration on the initiation and progression of disease.

–        The Centre for Applied Genomics. Node leaders: Stephen Scherer, Lisa Strug. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics Institute. The Centre for Applied Genomics provides genome sequencing and analysis, and other genomics services, to the Canadian and international research communities. Its development of new algorithms and methods for the analysis of whole genome sequence data underpin major, international research collaborations.

–        Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics. Node leaders: Guillaume Bourque, Michael Brudno. Lead Genome Centre: Genome Québec. The Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics facilitates access to bioinformatics and computing resources for researchers in the life sciences, helping them realize the potential of genomic research.

–        McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre. Node leaders: Mark Lathrop, Ioannis Ragoussis, Guillaume Bourque, Tomi Pastinen. Lead Genome Centre: Genome Québec. The Innovation Centre provides complete DNA and RNA analysis services, using the latest available sequencing and other technologies. The Centre also maintains full bioinformatics support for all its sequencing activities, using web-based user interface software.

–        Canadian Data Integration Centre. Node leaders: Philip Awadalla, Lincoln Stein, Isabel Fortier, Vincent Ferretti. Lead Genome Centre: Genome Québec. The Canadian Data Integration Centre offers bioinformatics services to researchers by providing the software and analytic systems for collecting, harmonizing, analyzing and electronically publishing data to assist researchers in understanding the causes, prevention and treatment of human diseases.

–        Centre for Advanced Proteomics Analyses. Node leaders: Pierre Thibault, Michael Tyers. Lead Genome Centre: Genome Québec. The Centre for Advanced Proteomic Analyses (CAPA) is a multi-disciplinary facility that provides state-of-the-art proteomics technology services to researchers in support of areas such as the development of immunotherapies to fight cancer and the discovery of cellular regulatory mechanisms based on protein interactions and post-translational modifications.

The Genomics Innovation Network is a new model, replacing Genome Canada’s former support of five Science and Technology Innovation Centres. The new network model places greater emphasis on collaboration and sharing of expertise among nodes.

“Breakthroughs across all sectors that form part of Canada’s growing bioeconomy – health, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, energy and mining – rely on researchers across Canada having access to leading-edge ‘omics technologies, which are rapidly evolving,” said Dr. Pierre Meulien, president and CEO, Genome Canada. “Moreover, we want to build on past successes where we’ve seen new genomics technology development become the foundation for Canadian business growth.”