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OGI genomics researchers awarded $23 million
Date:5/9/2011

As part of the Genome Canada Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition, which as a whole awarded over $58 million to 16 projects across the country, the researchers in Ontario will be focusing on biomonitoring, understanding gene function with the aim of identifying genes or proteins for drug targets, and the creation of synthetic antibodies to target cancers and other diseases.

The first project, with a budget of $3 million, is led by Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Assistant Professor, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, and Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, and will be applying a high-throughput, next-generation sequencing approach for genomic analysis of biomonitoring samples to allow for thorough assessments of ecosystem health.

This project is located in one of Canada's most valued ecosystems, Wood Buffalo National Park, a world heritage site and the world's second largest natural protected area. It is also one of Canada's most vulnerable ecosystems potentially threatened by encroaching industrial development such as mining, oil sands operations and hydro-eclectic dams.

"This work fills the void of little baseline data and suitable techniques for both industry and government to measure ecological risk," commented Dr. Hajibabaei. "The funding we have received will not only help improve methods to monitor environmental change, but will have a significant impact on helping prevent catastrophic habitat loss."

The second project, with a budget of nearly $11 million, is the North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Project (NorCOMM2), led by Drs. Colin McKerlie, Senior Associate Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children, and Staff Scientist, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Steve Brown, Director, MRC Harwell Mammalian Genetics Unit in the UK. This project will use mice as model systems to identify the roles of different genes in human disease.

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Contact: Alastair Harris-Cartwright
aharriscartwright@ontariogenomics.ca
416-673-6582
Ontario Genomics Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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