Public Release:  2 research facilities awarded technology seeding grants

Ontario Genomics Institute

The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) has awarded two research facilities with $10,000 each to test or develop leading-edge technologies to better aid the work of Ontario researchers.

The two recipients are The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG), part of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto and a Genome Canada Science and Technology Innovation Centre, and StemCore Laboratories based at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Both technology seeding grants will benefit the advancement of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods.

Dr. Stephen Scherer, Director of TCAG at SickKids and the University of Toronto's McLaughlin Centre, will be comparing methods that enable genome enrichment and exome capture. Exome sequencing, focused on sequencing the coding regions of the genome, has become a popular method for the identification of rare Mendelian genetic disorders using short-read, high-throughput NGS technologies. As the human exome comprises only about one to two percent of the whole genome, enough coverage can be obtained with less sequencing, hence reducing costs and having analysis completed in less time.

Dr. Scherer will examine two kits - Illumina's TruSeq Exome Enrichment Kit and Life Tech TargetSeq Exome Enrichment kit. By evaluating the performance of both kits, the team will be able to provide better guidance to scientists in Ontario and further afield in choosing the most appropriate product and approach depending on the goals of each project and the amount of actual coverage and uniformity obtained for candidate genes.

The second recipient is Pearl Campbell at StemCore Labs who will be optimizing ChIP-Seq methods, which allows for clearer examination of protein interaction sites, important in understanding gene expression.

The team will undertake a systematic examination of the ChIP-Seq library construction protocol to optimize the amount of usable data that can be obtained from each experiment. Due to the limited number of publications dealing with optimization of ChIP-Seq library construction, it is hoped that this study may assist in the development of standard operating procedures and clarify best practices for bioinformatic handling of clonal duplications observed in SE ChIP-Seq data.

"Through our Technology Seeding grants, we are investing in revolutionary technologies that bring many benefits to the research community," commented Dr. Mark Poznansky, President and CEO, OGI. "Technology is key to genomics research and providing funding to test technologies and enable platforms to acquire leading technology is paramount to keep us at the leading edge of research."

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OGI has also announced a new platform affiliate member. Dr. Guillaume Pare, Director of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory at McMaster University becomes the eighth member of OGI's Ontario Genomics Platform Affiliates Program. The program works to increase the visibility to and use of the platform affiliate members by the research community. Members also benefit from OGI's ability to leverage and negotiate vendor discounts on or access to leading-edge genomics technology and reagents. For more information on the program visit: www.ontariogenomics.ca/platform-affiliates

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