Elizabeth Edwards and Radhakrishnan Mahadevan of the University of Toronto are developing computational models using microbial genomes and metagenomes to uncover metabolic interactions in complex anaerobic microbial communities. They will identify and validate metabolic gaps pointing to metabolites exchanged among an anaerobic subsurface mixed microbial community that contains microbes used for bioremediation of toxic chlorinated solvents. This project aims to boost the efficiency of dechlorination in groundwater remediation, and resolve metabolic gaps in genome-scale models at the microbial community level.
Drs. David Edgell and Gregory Gloor of the University of Western Ontario are working to develop and test a CRISPR/Cas9 conjugative plasmid system to enable precise user-defined manipulation of the composition of microbial communities. This novel microbial control system aims to enable the selective elimination of individual bacteria from a mixed population. If successful, the microbial control system has broad-ranging applications in basic biomedical research, industrial food-related process, and human health, bringing the scientific community one step further in the quest to harness the power of microorganisms to overcome humanity’s challenges.
Michelle Science of SickKids is collaborating with Bryan Coburn of the University Health Network to investigate the impact of antibiotic treatment on the developing microbiome of infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. They aim to identify how the microbiome is affected, and establish whether these changes are associated with short-term or long-term consequences. Their findings will guide decision-making and prescribing practices for infants and neonates in health care facilities, with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.
Manish N. Raizada of the University of Guelph is working to discover probiotic microbes inhabiting the hollow channels of Ontario corn silks. This investigation of the pollen tube microbiome aims to lead to the identification of probiotics which can be applied to silks to combat crop diseases afflicting grain. This has the potential to decrease the requirement for and reliance on pesticides, resulting in more sustainable and effective industry practices – with exciting implications for Ontario corn farmers, grain processors, and local consumers.
As pressures on Canada’s freshwater water supplies grow, the Canadian mining sector is seeking to develop the most sustainable approaches to mining. Dr. Lesley A. Warren of the University of Toronto, along with Dr. Jillian Banfield of University of California, Berkeley, is leading a project that will apply genomics, geochemistry and modeling to mining wastewaters to develop tools to better monitor, manage and reduce sulphur compounds in wastewaters. This project will lower management costs, decrease risk of environmental damage, and better safeguard Canada’s freshwater supplies.
Frontier Agri-Science Inc. and Dr. Dario Bonetta of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology are developing a unique model for both prediction of candidate genes and the validation of effectiveness to improve traits in crops such as wheat, corn and rice. This academic-industry partnership is developing and refining Brachypodium as a highly efficient and novel monocot model system for crop development, with the potential to lead to the development of plant traits with herbicidal tolerance in key food crops.
In response to a need for a simpler, more cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution for treatment of wastewater, Ontario Genomics, alongside an NSERC Engage Plus award, supported a partnership between Bishop Water Technologies (BWT) and Dr. Christopher Weisener and his colleague Dr.Rao Chaganti of the University of Windsor. They are working together to find a solution for BWT’s product, BioCord, that would be affordable to communities, environmentally responsible, simpler to operate, and compliant with Federal and existing provincial regulations.
Personalized Medicine is an approach to health care in which treatment is informed by a deep understanding of the genomic and other molecular changes that contribute to the disease. The concept of Personalized Medicine is embodied by the expression “the right medicine to the right person at the right dose and at the right time.”
Dr. Peter Liu of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute discusses his research, which, through a partnership with Roche Diagnostics, is working to develop a novel heart failure biomarker panel that accurately diagnoses and classifies the disease. This solution enables physicians to select the best and the right treatment for individual patients.
As leaders in identifying the potential for, and investing in the development of early-stage genomics and proteomics discoveries, we are often the first to invest in winning ideas that will be attractive to later-stage investors for commercialization of the technology. Through our demand-pull model, along with our affiliation with Genome Canada, we’ve successfully identified, nurtured…