US to Build New ‘National Bioinformatics Infrastructure’

On April 16th, US President Biden put taxpayer money behind the Administration’s pledge to “follow the science.” That’s the day he officially announced a US investment of $1.7 billion “to improve the detection, monitoring, and mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 variants and to build infrastructure for future genomic sequencing needs.” Tucked inside of that plan is $300 million earmarked to build and support a National Bioinformatics Infrastructure.   According to a report by the Association of American…

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The case for biomanufacturing in Canada

As Canadians are eagerly rolling up their sleeves to receive one of many Health Canada-approved vaccines, a gap in Canada’s preparedness to respond to future pandemics has become apparent. Past assessments of Canada’s biomanufacturing capabilities revealed that its capacity to produce pharmaceuticals and therapeutics is underdeveloped. Investment in this space could not only arm us against the next global health crisis but could provide a new avenue of economic recovery post-pandemic.   Biomanufacturing refers to…

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Alberta research to spot early stage lung cancer

Earlier and faster cancer detection is the goal of research underway here in Alberta. ​ With funding from the Spark Grants, The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC) based at the University of Alberta is leading the new effort. Too often cancer is detected at a late stage but when lung cancers are treated early, survival rates increase significantly.   TMIC co-director David Wishart's team could transform lung cancer detection and save lives with a metabolomics-based blood…

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Science Seeks the Prrrfect Approach to PRRS

If you thought morning sickness was an ordeal, try dealing with PRRS infection during pregnancy. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is one of the most important diseases of pig production. Infection in pregnancy results in abortion and reduced litter size and viability, which has a major impact on production, welfare and the pork industry’s environmental footprint. In light of those implications, understanding reproductive PRRS and creating data to validate genomic results from previous studies…

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Science Fair Season 2021 – update

                          Previously, I called it the March Madness of Science Fair Season. Regional science fairs across the country are held in late March and early April so that teams of student finalists can be selected to represent their regions at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. As with most of the regionals, this year the Canada-Wide will be a virtual fair to be held May…

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Using metabolomics to understand maternal and fetal health

By Vanessa Carias PhD, Genome Alberta Research Program Manager A pregnant woman’s diet affects not only her own maternal health but that of the developing fetus. But how do doctors know what diet to recommend which will increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby? Dr. Britz-McKibbin and his team who are part of the McMaster node of The Metabolomics Innovation Centre, are working on answering that question using a new technique involving metabolomics.…

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Bioinformatics beats AI in genetic sequence ‘lab of origin’ tracking challenge

Few headlines today announce the winner of computing challenges to be something other than artificial intelligence (AI). Judging by many media accounts, the robots always win, even the bodiless software ‘bots. But other computing approaches do win challenges, at least some of the time, and now bioinformatics has thoroughly thumped AI in one.   To be clear, AI is a bit of a misnomer in this context because most of those challenges are won by…

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COVID-19 Variant Sequencing Statement

The non-Ministerial MLAs in the Alberta Legislature – or any Legislature for that matter – often find it difficult to express their thoughts about events which they feel are important to constituents. Question Period is one route to raise matters but ,no surprise here, that time is reserved for questions, not speeches. So what is an MLA Supposed to do to raise topics that should be on the record and heard by members of the…

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New applied genomics research investments bring solutions to real-world challenges facing Canadians

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 Ottawa, ON $8.6 million in federal funding to support healthier Canadians and a resilient food supply Genomics is on a mission to develop new knowledge, tools and technologies to improve Canadians’ lives. Today, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, William Amos, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science), announced $8.6 million in federal support through Genome Canada to five applied genomics…

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