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Agriculture to benefit from genomics funding

July 14, 2016 - Parliamentary Secretary for Science, Terry Beech, recently announced the recipients of Round 5 funding under Genome Canada's Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP).

Five projects are receiving a total of $5.3 million in federal funding through Genome Canada, with an additional $11.6 million invested through partners including provinces, private and public sector organizations.  

"Genomics is a powerful enabling technology that cuts-across many sectors that are of critical importance to Canada as these projects illustrate," says Marc LePage, president and CEO of Genome Canada. "Congratulations to the new teams, whose work has the potential to transform industries and create social and economic benefits for Canadians."

The five projects to receive funding are:

  • Dr. Casey Hubert, from the University of Calgary, is working with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy to de-risk offshore oil and gas exploration in the province using innovative genomic approaches.
  • Dr. Christoph Borchers from the University of Victoria and Dr. Gerald Batist from McGill University, are working with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to validate new technology that will help healthcare professionals match the right cancer treatment to the right patient.
  • Dr. Charles Goulet from Université Laval, is working with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to use variation in aroma-related genes to develop more flavourful tomatoes.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Edwards from the University of Toronto, is working with SiREM to use specific microbes to accelerate the rate of biodegradation and enable less expensive cleanup of contaminated industrial sites.
  • Dr. Xiao-Yan Wen from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, is working with Edge Therapeutics Inc. the develop the best drugs for preventing intracerebral hemorrhage – a form of brain hemorrhage responsible for 10 per cent of all strokes.  
GAPP partners academic researchers with users in the private and public sectors to promote genomics-derived solutions to address challenges or opportunities facing users. The projects are expected to have considerable economic and social impacts in the near term, spurring innovation, commercialization and growth in Canada.

Further, through a Genome Canada and Mitacs partnership, GAPP supports training the next generation of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Several of the projects announced today involve research internships, which will prepare Canada's next entrepreneurs through hands-on experience.

"Today's announcement reflects the shared commitment Mitacs and Genome Canada have in supporting Canada's next generation of innovators whose research in genomics will have significant, multi-sector, impacts on our country's well-being, " says Dr. Alejandro Adem, CEO and scientific director with Mitacs.