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Genome Canada Launches C$30.5M Genomics Innovation Network

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genome Canada today announced it is investing C$30.5 million (US$24.1 million) to help create the new Genomics Innovation Network spanning 10 research centers throughout the country.

The network consists of "nodes" which will provide Canadian and international researchers access to cutting edge technologies in genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and other related areas of research, as well as advice on study design, data analytics, and bioinformatics. Each node will receive between C$800,000 and C$2 million in funding over two years, beginning April 1, 2015. The initial C$15.5 million in funding will be fully matched by provincial governments, academic institutions, and private sector sources, bringing the total initial investment to C$31 million.

Another C$15 million will be spent in the next two years directed at technology development and collaborative projects, Genome Canada said in a statement.

The nodes will include: The Proteomics Centre and the Sequencing Platform at the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre, both led by Genome British Columbia; The Metabolomics Innovation Centre led by Genome Alberta; the Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics, the Network Biology Collaborative Centre, and The Centre for Applied Genomics, each led by the Ontario Genomics Institute; and the Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics, McGill University and the Génome Quebéc Innovation Centre, the Canadian Data Integration Centre, and the Centre for Advanced Proteomics Analyses, each led by Genome Quebéc.

Nodes were selected in a competitive process that included peer review by an international review committee, GenomeCanadasaid, and the Network model will supplant the former model consisting of five Science and Technology Innovation Centres. Genome Canada said the model will place an emphasis on collaboration and sharing of expertise between nodes, though it didn't say how that would be encouraged.

"Breakthroughs across all sectors that form part of Canada's growing bioeconomy – health, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, energy, and mining – rely on researchers across Canada having access to leading-edge omics technologies, which are rapidly evolving," Genome Canada President and CEO Pierre Meulien said in a statement.

Christoph Borchers and Leonard Foster will lead The Proteomics Centre, a "one-stop shop" for proteomics services.

Rob Holt and Marco Marra will lead The Sequencing Platform at the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre in offering large-scale DNA sequencing for oncology and support for translational research.

The Metabolomics Innovation Centre is Canada's core facility for studying small molecule metabolites that play key roles in biological pathways. David Wishart and Borchers will lead the center.

Colin McKerlie will lead the Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics, which will produce mouse models with specific mutations to create disease models of human conditions and help researchers develop treatments for those diseases.

Anne-Claude Gingras and Jeff Wrana will lead the Network Biology Collaborative Centre to help scientists understand the role of genes and gene products in human health and disease.

The Centre for Applied Genomics will provide sequencing and analysis services, led by Stephen Scherer and Lisa Strug.

The Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics will facilitate access to bioinformatics and computing resources under the leadership of Guillaume Bourque and Michael Brudno.

Mark Lathrop, Ioannis Ragoussis, Bourque, and Tomi Pastinen will head the McGill University and Génome Quebéc Innovation Center, providing DNA and RNA analysis services using the latest technologies and web-based bioinformatics software.

The Canadian Data Integration Centre, led by Philip Awadalla, Lincoln Stein, Isabel Fortier, and Vincent Ferretti, will provide bioinformatics services and software for collecting, harmonizing, analyzing, and publishing data.

And Pierre Thibault and Michael Tyers will lead the effort to support proteomics research at the multidisciplinary Centre for Advanced Proteomics Analyses.