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In the last decade, genomics has taken centre stage in changing our approach to improving health care and food production, and has begun to offer solutions that could be applied to our resource-based economy such as alternate fuel sources and wastewater management. In short, I have little doubt that an understanding of genomics and its importance to society will be essential to better living for all citizens of the world. We already see this in our daily lives through improvements in health care, or the impact of genetically enhanced crops that are helping to feed communities less well off than ourselves. Nevertheless, despite the game-changing nature of genomics, those who understand genomics best have a responsibility to develop its application wisely and educate those unaware of its importance or who fear its application. In addition to its support for genomics research in Ontario and Canada, raising awareness of the potential of genomics to impact positively on our society is central to the programs of the Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI).

The last ten years were very much about increasing our understanding of genomics through acquisition of new knowledge and its early application to specific problems important to society. We are, in many ways, victims of our own success as the amount of new knowledge has begun to exceed our ability to manage the data obtained in order to transform knowledge to wisdom as we move to putting that knowledge to work in developing new treatments, drugs and new ways to protect our environment.

Organizations like OGI and the other genome centres are integral in promoting genomics research and its impact on our everyday life. Through our work, we seek to support researchers in Ontario and Canada, and advance our reputation as a world-leading life sciences hub. We also work to help with the translational aspect of research – getting the great lab work and discoveries that are made in this province's most excellent research institutions into the marketplace and into the hands of industry, where they truly have life changing effects.

Over this past year, the Ontario Genomics Institute has flowed $17.9 million to 21 projects in Ontario, making a total of nearly 50 projects with budgets of over $700 million over the last decade.

Ontario outcomes spell success

Several projects reached their conclusion this year. All Technology Development projects funded in 2009 came to an end, some with excellent results, including the formation of a company called DVS Sciences, which is selling mass spectrometry machines and reagents that recently opened a manufacturing plant in Markham – providing Canadian jobs and income, all from what started as basic research. Another project created a proof-of-principle on a chip-based detector for the profiling of cancer microRNA, which has since received further investment from other Ontario institutions. These are just two examples of the amazing work taking place in our backyard. The impact of OGI's programs on developing genomic approaches to improvements in health, environment and agriculture, and their future potential is covered in the following pages, where you'll also see examples of how OGI is striving to keep our province ahead of the game.

Our community – our DNA

I would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to the world-class research institutions we have been fortunate enough to work with over the last year. Their dedication, insight and creativity continue to get Ontario noticed globally. I wish to also thank our major partners, Genome Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, for their leadership in placing genomics research front of mind and supporting this incredibly important area for Ontario's economy, reputation and future.

My thanks is extended to Dr. Mark Poznansky, who took over as President and CEO in December 2010, and with whom I very much look forward to working with in my new role as the Chair of the Board of Directors. I also want to thank Mark Lievonen for his service as Interim Chair. Our board is made up of the best people from academia and industry, and the continuing contribution they make is invaluable. We are all proud to be part of the genomics revolution.