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Scientists in BC set to receive $2.7 million in funding


Vancouver, BC – Genome BC has announced the second round of funding through its Science Opportunities Fund. In all, 10 research teams are being approved to launch peer-reviewed, short-term genomics research projects valued at just over $2.7 million.

The projects and principal investigators are as follow:

Time Resolved Community Genomics of Subarctic Pacific Oxygen: Minimum Zones; Field of Activity: Environment, aquaculture;
Project Leader: Dr Steven Hallam;
Involved Institution: UBC;
The research team seeks to understand the deterioration of our oceans through the examination of microbial communities and the effect these have on oxygen concentrations in the oceans’ “dead zones”; a critical element to understanding the impact of climate change on the productivity of BC marine systems.

PCR-free, sequence-specific nucleic acid detection:
Field of Activity: Technology, health;
Project Leader: Dr Andre Marziali;
Involved Institutions: UBC, Boreal Genomics;
The research team will develop new detection systems for identification of infectious agents directly from biological samples easily & quickly allowing point of care diagnostics with an easy to use and portable device.

High-throughput bacterial transcriptome mapping: a case study:
Field of Activity: Health, technology;
Project Leader: Dr Peter J Unrau;
Involved Institution: SFU;
Project related website: www.bcid.ca/team.htm ;
This project is focused on developing a ‘first of its kind,’ novel methodology to understand host pathogen interaction for many infectious diseases.

Conifer hybrid zones as genomic laboratories for adaptation to new climates:
Field of Activity: Forestry;
Project Leaders: Drs Sally Aitken and Kermit Ritland;
Involved Institution: UBC;
The research team seeks to improve tree breeding programs and their management and to develop response strategies to climate change for a sustainable and resilient forestry industry.

Environmental Genomics of RNA Viruses:
Field of Activity: Environment, health;
Project Leader: Dr Curtis Suttle;
Involved Institution: UBC;
The research team will examine the diversity of viruses in freshwater ponds and the environment in order to determine sources of avian viruses that could impact public health and provide information that will help mitigate viral disease outbreaks caused by migratory birds.

Barcoding of BC Ectomycorrhizal Mushrooms:
Field of Activity: Forestry;
Project Leader: Dr Mary Berbee;
Involved Institution: UBC;
The research team will apply genomic technology to look at the diversity of fungal populations that will lead to forest management practices that protect diversity in BC, the most biologically diverse province in the country.

Splice-Variant Profiling of Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels:
Field of Activity: Health;
Project Leaders: Dr Terrance P. Snutch;
Involved Institutions: University of British Columbia;
This project is focused on generating new cost-effective and specific drug screening tools for treatment of migraine, epilepsy, chronic pain, heart disease and blindness.

The applications of high throughput DNA sequencing in the identification of hybrid poplar feedstock varieties for the biofuels industry:
Field of Activity: Bioenergy;
Project Leader: Dr Jim Mattsson;
Involved Institution: SFU;
Researchers will develop tools to identify and rapidly breed poplar tree varieties that are optimal for biofuel production.

Novel DNA-Integration Tools for an International Consortium:
Field of Activity: Health;
Project Leader: Dr Elizabeth Simpson;
Involved Institutions: Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics;
This project will generating unique tools to develop gene therapy interactions for brain diseases.

Short Sequence Assembly & Finishing of Large Genomes:
Field of Activity: Technology;
Project Leaders: Drs Inanc Birol, Steven Jones;
Involved Institution: BC Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency;
Scientists will develop bio-informatic tools enabling more accurate and cost-effective DNA sequencing.

“We are proud of the scientists whose expertise has created these targeted projects designed to have a positive impact on the collective well-being of the province and look forward to seeing the results in the near future,” said Dr Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC.