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Genome BC Awards $1M to Four Research Teams

NEW YORK – Genome British Columbia is doling out a cumulative $1 million to support four research projects, the not-for-profit announced Wednesday.

A research team from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Providence Health Care (PHC) will investigate the role of air pollution and genetics on development of interstitial lung disease. Meanwhile, another team from those same institutions will study how genetic testing and clinical imaging can support risk assessment and treatment decisions related to heart disease. Researchers from UBC, PHC, and the Prevention of Organ Failure Centre will build biomarker tests to predict poor health outcomes in heart transplant patients, and a team from UBC and PHC will develop tests to identify those at risk for heart failure and to monitor progression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

All four projects will be part of the Data Access, Integration, and Analysis Program that Genome BC launched last year. The program provides researchers with access to a cloud-based bioinformatics system from Providence Health Care Ventures that integrates anonymized patient data from British Columbia's Provincial Health Services Authority with genomics and imaging data.

"These four projects now have the unique chance to access health data digitally, instead of the traditional manual, time-consuming process," said Zsuzsanna Hollander, director of data science at Genome BC, in a statement. "Merging health data with genomics data can speed up the process of discovering better patient management tools."