Ontario Genomics Institute /
2012 Annual Report

DNA barcoding will identify our impact on the environment, such as how the oil sands have affected the Delta-Athabasca Wetland.

Dr. Hajibabaei’s Biomonitoring 2.0 project will use genomics to assess the biodiversity in Wood Buffalo National Park and improve sustainability.

State-of-the art genomics technologies are tools that provide life sciences solutions to real-world challenges in health, agriculture and the environment.

Disease models are used to discover more about genes, leading to more effective diagnosis and treatments.

This large-scale phenotyping facility used by Dr. McKerlie’s team will help understand the function of our genes to enable better diagnosis and new drug development.

Investigators at Dr. Yudin’s lab are using proteomic research to develop a technology which will aid in future drug discovery and delivery.

Basic research funded by OGI is developing innovative technologies to solve industry problems.

Summer Research Fellow Maria Tassone presents her findings to other researchers and members of the public.

OGI’s Summer Research Fellowship program provides students like Sean Cai an opportunity to conduct meaningful research with leading genomics investigators.

Education and Awareness

Explaining the Impact of Genomics

In April 2011, OGI launched the WhyGenomics website – a resource for non-scientists to explain the study of genes, why genomics research is important and the wide-spread practical application genomics has in health, the environment and agriculture. To increase public knowledge about this new resource, an awareness campaign ran throughout September. This campaign was the first of its kind for OGI, featuring posters highlighting the impact of genomics research with captions such as “We’ve got cancer running scared.” The initiative generated 5.25 million impressions and resulted in a 225 percent increase in traffic to WhyGenomics, many of which were first-time visitors.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Genomics Researchers

OGI supports a number of education related events to showcase the power of genomics:

The Summer Research Fellowship program offers undergraduate students a unique opportunity to engage in research in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, or GE³LS (ethical, economic, environmental, legal, and/or social issues relating to genomics and proteomics research). In 2011, OGI sponsored seven research fellows, who participated in laboratory research, analysis of policy and technology development.

OGI awarded a Genomics Teaching Award to Jackie Ross from Thornlea Secondary School. Ms. Ross’ teaching demonstrated her commitment to introducing the next generation of Ontarians to the effect of genomics and its many applications, outcomes and socio-economic impacts. Ms. Ross created innovative partnerships with other institutions to ensure her students received a wide and detailed understanding of the practical and theoretical impact of genomics.

During National Biotechnology Week in September, OGI hosted over 400 students at two educational events. The first event, in partnership with the MaRS Discovery District, educated high school students about genomics and epigenetics. OGI also worked with the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute to educate more than a hundred Grade 11 and 12 students in Thunder Bay about careers in genomics and medicine. Both of these events were successful and a number of students expressed an interest in careers that included genomics.