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GenomeBC Grants $2.4M for New Genomics Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Canadian researchers will receive C$2.7 million (US$2.4 million) from a new round of grants from Genome British Columbia to use genomics-based research methods to pursue a range of biomedical, environmental, disease, and forestry-related studies.

Vancouver-based Genome BC has given out ten grants to British Columbia-baseed research groups for genomics studies under the Science Opportunities Fund.

The funding under this program is focused on short-term peer-reviewed projects that could be of significance to British Columbia and will benefit the regional economy, Genome BC said last week. The fund was created to fill a funding gap for small, short-term projects in order to help British Columbia researchers compete for larger national or international grants.

One research team at the University of British Columbia will study microbial communities and the effect these have on oxygen concentrations in the oceans' "dead zones."

Scientists at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics will use the grant to pursue novel DNA integration tools for use in gene therapy interactions for brain diseases.

Another UBC group will develop new detection systems for identifying infectious agents directly from biological samples that could be used in point-of-care diagnostics with a portable device.
Meanwhile, researchers at Simon Frazier University will develop a novel methodology to understand host and pathogen interactions for infectious diseases.

A UBC team will study tree breeding in order to develop response strategies for climate change and or a sustainable and resilient forestry industry.

Another grant to SFU will fund DNA sequencing studies that will be used to identify hybrid poplar feedstock varieties for use in biofuels.

UBC scientists also will study the diversity of viruses in freshwater ponds and in the environment to determine the sources of avian viruses that could impact public health. Another UBC group will use genomics to study fungal diversity in order to develop forest management practices, and another team will develop drug screening tools that could be used in treating migraines, epilepsy, chronic pain, heart disease, and blindness.

The BC Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency will use a grant to develop bioinformatics tools that could be used to make DNA sequencing, including short sequence assembly and completing large genomes, more effective, accurate, and affordable.

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