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You are here: Home / Faculty / Dr. Marco Marra, OBC, PhD, FRS(C), FCAHS / Intro to GSC / Introduction to the Genome Sciences Centre

Introduction to the Genome Sciences Centre

With support from the BC Cancer Foundation, Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at the BC Cancer Agency is an internationally recognized state-of-the-art facility specializing in high-throughput genome research activities including cancer genetics, bioinformatics, DNA sequencing, genome mapping, gene expression assays, proteomics and technology development. Our primary mandate is to apply genomics and bioinformatics tools and technologies to cancer and disease research. The GSC also houses co-op and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates in the laboratory and in bioinformatics.

Since its inception in 1999, the GSC has been awarded over $200 million in research grants and contracts. Since 2001, the GSC has published 192 peer-reviewed papers, 558 abstracts and given 201 invited presentations.

As the largest capacity genomics centre of its type in Canada, the GSC specializes in high-throughput, large-scale genome research activities encompassing cancer genetics, bioinformatics, DNA sequencing, data analysis, genome mapping, gene expression profiling, proteomics and technology development. The facility was designed specifically for flexibility and high throughput with a particular emphasis on efficiency and rapid scale-up. Research is carried out on the latest instrumentation, with data collected and analyzed on one of the most innovative and flexible bioinformatics computing facilities in the world.

In establishing its state-of-the-art technology platforms, the GSC has focused on the following areas:

  • bioinformatics
  • high-throughput DNA sequencing
  • whole genome mapping
  • gene expression profiling
  • protein-protein interactions
  • genotyping and polymorphism discovery

As Director of the GSC, I look forward to additional projects and collaborative opportunities with local, national and international investigators and organizations. We have shown that the Genome Sciences Centre is an excellent position to use the power of genomics to impact positively local, national and international research programs. Research programs at the GSC are operated jointly by the Principal Investigators, with each of the Principal Investigators assuming responsibility for a particular aspect of the program. It is important to emphasize that the GSC does not operate in the manner of a traditional department, in which each of the Principal Investigators pursues a research program independently of the other Principal Investigators in the department. Instead, the GSC operates in a closely coordinated manner, in which the Principal Investigators collaborate to solve the multi-disciplinary problems inherent in Genomics research. Our experience, both in Vancouver and abroad, has been that close coordination between Principal Investigators and a focus on common goals are absolutely essential to the success of a Genome Centre. These are especially important to our Centre, which benefits from a rich multidisciplinary environment in which computer scientists, engineers, biologists, biochemists and physicists work together.

Page last modified Oct 20, 2009