Scientists in BC set to receive $2.7 million in funding



    VANCOUVER, June 3 /CNW/ - At a time when the Canadian economy is under
significant pressure, Genome BC is making investments in genomics research
groups in British Columbia, which will help position the Province to capture
specific and significant future scientific opportunities in the global
knowledge-based economy.
    Today Genome BC is announcing the second round of funding through the
Science Opportunities Fund. Through this initiative, 10 BC-based research
teams will be approved to launch genomics research projects valued at just
over $2.7 million.
    The research teams are launching peer-reviewed, short-term research
projects to help find answers to significant issues in British Columbia. The
results of the research will have impacts on important sectors of BC's economy
and environment. Complete descriptions of the projects and principal
investigators are available at www.genomebc.ca.

    
    Human health:
    -   Developing a 'first of its kind,' novel methodology to understand
        host pathogen interaction for many infectious diseases
    -   Generating new cost-effective and specific drug screening tools for
        treatment of migraine, epilepsy, chronic pain, heart disease and
        blindness
    -   Generating unique tools to develop gene therapy interactions for
        brain diseases

    Forestry:
    -   Applying genomic technology to look at the diversity of fungal
        populations that will lead to forest management practices that
        protect diversity in BC, the most biologically diverse province in
        the country
    -   Improving tree breeding programs and their management and to develop
        response strategies to climate change for a sustainable and resilient
        forestry industry

    Environment:
    -   Understanding the deterioration of our oceans through the examination
        of microbial communities and the effect these have on oxygen
        concentrations in the oceans' "dead zones"; a critical element to
        understanding the impact of climate change on the productivity of BC
        marine systems
    -   Developing tools to identify and rapidly breed poplar tree varieties
        that are optimal for biofuel production
    -   Examining the diversity of viruses in freshwater ponds and the
        environment in order to determine sources of avian viruses that could
        impact public health and provide information that will help mitigate
        viral disease outbreaks caused by migratory birds

    Biotechnology:
    -   Developing bio-informatic tools enabling more accurate and cost-
        effective DNA sequencing
    -   Developing new detection systems for identification of infectious
        agents directly from biological samples easily & quickly allowing
        point of care diagnostics with an easy to use and portable device
    

    "We are proud of the scientists whose expertise has created these
targeted projects designed to have a positive impact on the collective
well-being of the Province and look forward to seeing the results in the near
future," said Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.
    The Science Opportunities Fund program was created based on feedback from
life science researchers in BC. Genome BC is involved primarily in large and
medium size project and platform competitions, but scientists pointed out a
funding gap for smaller and short-term research projects which could enable
BC-based researchers to compete for larger national or international
opportunities. Therefore the Fund was created to meet these needs. A full
description of the competition and its requirements are available at
www.genomebc.ca.

    About Genome BC:

    Founded in 2000, Genome BC works collaboratively with government,
universities and industry as the catalyst for a genomics-driven life sciences
cluster with significant social and economic benefits for the Province and
Canada. The organization's research portfolio, over $380 million since
inception, includes 60 projects and technology platforms focused on areas of
strategic importance to British Columbia such as human health, forestry,
fisheries, bioenergy, mining, agriculture, ethics, and the environment.

    
    Note to editors: Interviews with scientists and/or tours of their labs
    can be scheduled for story leads or B-roll.
    





For further information:

For further information: Julia White, Communications Officer, Genome
British Columbia, (604) 637-4378, jwhite@genomebc.ca; Sally Greenwood,
Director, Communications, Genome British Columbia, (604) 637-4373,
sgreenwood@genomebc.ca

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GENOME BRITISH COLUMBIA

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