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Univ. of Toronto Lands $24.8M for Genomics Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Toronto has received a C$24.8 million ($24.7 million) grant from Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation, which it plans to use for cancer research and other applications using genomics, bioinformatics, and robotics.

The funding, awarded under the Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences (GL2), will be used by five U of T scientists from a range of disciplines, the university said Thursday.

Professor Charles Boone of the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research will use robotics, software, and molecular biology to study gene function and interaction in an effort to understand cellular programs that control the development, differentiation, and aging of disease. His long-term goal is to develop gene-based cancer therapies.

Professor Jack Greenblatt, also in the Banting and Best department, researches reactions and factors involved in switching human genes on and off and is studying how altered genome states trigger diseases with the aim of developing new drugs for cancer, neurological diseases, and other illnesses.

Scott Tanner, an associate professor in the department of chemistry, will use a cell analysis technology he invented that can determine up to 100 biomarkers in individual cells. Tanner plans to use the technology to create tools that doctors can use to diagnose diseases and monitor treatments.

Peter St. George-Hyslop, a professor at U of T’s medicine department, and the others also will use the funding to identify signaling pathways that cause brain cells to die with the goal of producing innovative diagnostics and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

“The long-term success of our province, as a global leader in genomics and life sciences, is closely interconnected with programs like GL2, which provide our scholars with the resources needed for their cutting-edge work,” U of T’s Associate VP of Research, Peter Lewis, said in a statement.

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