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Genome research gets Big Data boost


Hamilton, ON – The federal government has awarded a total of $4 million to 16 new bioinformatics and computational (B/CB) biology research projects to be conducted at academic institutions across Canada. These projects will strengthen the development of new tools to help provide maximum value from research investments in genomics and related fields – areas that produce a massive and ongoing influx of data.

The funding is being provided through Genome Canada’s 2015 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition, a partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

“Bioinformatics and Computational Biology is a priority area for Genome Canada given the growing need for enhanced tools and methodologies to make sense of the huge and growing influx of data stemming from genomics research. These projects will advance the useful application of genomics across multiple sectors, harnessing the power of this technology for the benefit of Canadians,” said Marc LePage, president and CEO, Genome Canada.

The funded projects are as follows:

BRITISH COLUMBIA:

New bioinformatics for new sequencing technologies: Genome characterization and variation detection using long reads. Project leader: Inanc Birol, British Columbia Cancer Agency. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia. Total funding: $250,000.

Automated analysis of big flow cytometry data. Project leaders: Ryan Brinkman, British Columbia Cancer Agency; Cedric Chauve, Simon Fraser University; Sara Mostafavi, University of British Columbia. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia.Total funding: $249,994.

PathOGIST: Calibrated multi-criterion genomic analysis for public health microbiology. Project leaders: Leonid Chindelevitch, Simon Fraser University; William Hsiao, University of British Columbia; Cedric Chauve, Simon Fraser University. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia. Total funding: $250,000.

On Target: Big Data-Informed Software for the Design of cis-Regulatory Regions Controlling Human Gene Expression. Project leader: Wyeth Wasserman, University of British Columbia. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia. Total funding: $250,000

Genomic Epidemiology Application Ontology (GenEpiO). Project leaders: William Hsiao, University of British Columbia; Andrew G. McArthur, McMaster University; Fiona S.L. Brinkman, Simon Fraser University. Lead Genome Centre: Genome British Columbia. Co-Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $250,000.

ONTARIO:

Enhanced and Automated Visualization of Complex Data. Project leader: Paul C. Boutros, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $250,000.

Consolidated epigenetic landscape for congenital, developmental and childhood disorders. Project leaders: Michael Brudno, Rosanna Weksberg, Hospital for Sick Children. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $249,900.

Dockstore: A platform for sharing cloud-agnostic tools with the research community. Project leader: Vincent Ferretti, Lincoln Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $250,000.

Kamphir: a versatile framework to fit models to phylogenetic tree shapes. Project leader: Art F.Y. Poon, Western University. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $205,365.

ePlants Pipeline and Navigator for Accessing and Integrating Multi-Level ‘Omics Data for 15 Agronomically Important Species for Hypothesis Generation. Project leader: Nicholas Provart, University of Toronto. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $250,000.

Rapid, accessible genome assembly using long read sequencing. Project leader: Jared Simpson, University of Toronto and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $250,000.

QUÉBEC:

Computation of cell-specific microRNA:mRNA regulatory networks enables the design of efficient RNAi-based therapeutics. Project leaders: François Major, Université de Montréal, Thomas Duchaine, McGill University. Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec. Total funding: $250,000.

A toolkit for genome-wide association studies in bacteria. Project leaders: Jesse Shapiro, Université de Montréal; Luis Barreiro, CHU Sainte Justine. Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec. Total funding: $250,000.

Computational methods and databases to identify small RNA-binding molecules regulating gene expression. Project leaders: Jérôme Waldispühl, Nicolas Moitessier, McGill University. Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec. Total funding: $249,999.

Crowdsourcing Genomic Databases. Project leaders: Jérôme Waldispühl, McGill University; Olivier Tremblay-Savard, University of Manitoba. Lead Genome Centre: Génome Québec. Co-Lead Genome Centre: Genome Prairie. Total funding: $250,000.

ATLANTIC:

Rapid prediction of antimicrobial resistance from metagenomic samples: data, models, and methods. Project leaders: Robert Beiko, Dalhousie University; Andrew G. McArthur, McMaster University. Lead Genome Centre: Genome Atlantic. Co-Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics. Total funding: $250,000.

Full project descriptions are available here.