The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) has been awarded $23.8 million to support genomics research. $11.3 million from Genome Canada and $12.5 million from co-funding.
In the first of three projects, the North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Project (NorCOMM2), will use mice as model systems to identify the roles of different genes in human disease. It is led by Colin McKerlie, PhD, senior associate scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children, staff scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Steve Brown, director at MRC Harwell Mammalian Genetics Unit.
“Central to biomedical research is the identification of genetic changes that underlie disease,” commented McKerlie. “This funding from Genome Canada supports a leading role for Canada within an international program to understand the function of all 20,000 genes in the genome and builds on the successes of the original NorCOMM project started in 2006. NorCOMM focused on developing and distributing a library of mouse embryonic stem cell lines carrying single gene trapped or targeted mutations across the mouse genome. This new NorCOMM2 project will let us put that resource to work to understand the function of those genes in normal biology and disease.”
The second project, led by Sachdev Sidhu, PhD, associate professor, and Charles Boone, PhD, professor, Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, will work towards developing a process and infrastructure for efficient and large-scale production of synthetic antibody reagents to target cancer and other devastating diseases.
“This funding will allow our team, consisting of leading cancer biologists from the Toronto research community, to generate and validate hundreds of antibodies against a host of cancer-associated targets,” commented Sidhu. “These antibodies will be powerful tools for discovery research and a significant subset will be candidates for new therapeutic entities. This program will have a major impact on basic research in cancer biology, on therapeutic options for cancer treatment, and on the development of commercial biotechnology in Canada.”
Also funded is a project focusing on genome wide approaches to study medulloblastomas –the most common form of childhood brain cancer, to develop markers that will more accurately classify the tumours for treatment. This project co- led by Michael Taylor, PhD, neurosurgeon, The Hospital for Sick Children and Marco Marra, PhD from the British Columbia Cancer Agency.
In the third project, researchers will apply a high-throughput, next-generation sequencing approach for genomic analysis of biomonitoring samples to allow for thorough assessments of ecosystem health.
Release Date: May 9, 2011
Source: The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI)