Jones lab

Dr. Jones' team uses bioinformatics to investigate the landscape of mutations present in cancer genomes and the early genomic events that give rise to and promote the progression of cancer. To achieve these goals, his laboratory analyzes Next Generation Sequencing data and develops novel computational approaches and methodologies. A significant aim of Dr. Jones’ research program is to find innovative ways to exploit specific genomic profiles within an individual cancer for therapeutic purposes. For example, his team has identified a number of epigenetic modifications that may potentially be targeted to reverse the effects of cancer initiating mutations. His lab is using computational approaches, such as molecular docking and molecular dynamics, to identify and refine compounds that can modify the cancer epigenome. 



We are located at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, Echelon Technology Platform.

570 West 7th Avenue 
Vancouver, British Columbia 
V5Z 4S6 


Selected Publications

Gene Fusions Are Recurrent, Clinically Actionable Gene Rearrangements in Wild-Type Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2019
Jones, Martin R, Williamson, Laura M, Topham, James T, Lee, Michael K C, Goytain, Angela, Ho, Julie, Denroche, Robert E, Jang, GunHo, Pleasance, Erin, Shen, Yaoquing, Karasinska, Joanna M, McGhie, John P, Gill, Sharlene, Lim, Howard J, Moore, Malcolm J, Wong, Hui-Li, Ng, Tony, Yip, Stephen, Zhang, Wei, Sadeghi, Sara, Reisle, Carolyn, Mungall, Andrew J, Mungall, Karen L, Moore, Richard A, Ma, Yussanne, Knox, Jennifer J, Gallinger, Steven, Laskin, Janessa, Marra, Marco A, Schaeffer, David F, Jones, Steven J M, Renouf, Daniel J
Gene fusions involving neuregulin 1 () have been noted in multiple cancer types and have potential therapeutic implications. Although varying results have been reported in other cancer types, the efficacy of the HER-family kinase inhibitor afatinib in the treatment of fusion-positive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is not fully understood.

Genomic characterization of a well-differentiated grade 3 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.

Cold Spring Harbor molecular case studies, 2019
Williamson, Laura M, Steel, Michael, Grewal, Jasleen K, Thibodeau, My Lihn, Zhao, Eric Y, Loree, Jonathan M, Yang, Kevin C, Gorski, Sharon M, Mungall, Andrew J, Mungall, Karen L, Moore, Richard A, Marra, Marco A, Laskin, Janessa, Renouf, Daniel J, Schaeffer, David F, Jones, Steven J M
Pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PanNENs) represent a minority of pancreatic neoplasms that exhibit variability in prognosis. Ongoing mutational analyses of PanNENs have found recurrent abnormalities in chromatin remodeling genes (e.g., and ), and mTOR pathway genes (e.g., , , and ), some of which have relevance to patients with related familial syndromes. Most recently, grade 3 PanNENs have been divided into two groups based on differentiation, creating a new group of well-differentiated grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) that have had a limited whole-genome level characterization to date. In a patient with a metastatic well-differentiated grade 3 PanNET, our study utilized whole-genome sequencing of liver metastases for the comparative analysis and detection of single-nucleotide variants, insertions and deletions, structural variants, and copy-number variants, with their biologic relevance confirmed by RNA sequencing. We found that this tumor most notably exhibited a -disrupting fusion, showed a novel fusion, and lacked any somatic variants in , , and .

Application of a Neural Network Whole Transcriptome-Based Pan-Cancer Method for Diagnosis of Primary and Metastatic Cancers.

JAMA network open, 2019
Grewal, Jasleen K, Tessier-Cloutier, Basile, Jones, Martin, Gakkhar, Sitanshu, Ma, Yussanne, Moore, Richard, Mungall, Andrew J, Zhao, Yongjun, Taylor, Michael D, Gelmon, Karen, Lim, Howard, Renouf, Daniel, Laskin, Janessa, Marra, Marco, Yip, Stephen, Jones, Steven J M
A molecular diagnostic method that incorporates information about the transcriptional status of all genes across multiple tissue types can strengthen confidence in cancer diagnosis.

Sources of erroneous sequences and artifact chimeric reads in next generation sequencing of genomic DNA from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples.

Nucleic acids research, 2019
Haile, Simon, Corbett, Richard D, Bilobram, Steve, Bye, Morgan H, Kirk, Heather, Pandoh, Pawan, Trinh, Eva, MacLeod, Tina, McDonald, Helen, Bala, Miruna, Miller, Diane, Novik, Karen, Coope, Robin J, Moore, Richard A, Zhao, Yongjun, Mungall, Andrew J, Ma, Yussanne, Holt, Rob A, Jones, Steven J, Marra, Marco A
Tissues used in pathology laboratories are typically stored in the form of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples. One important consideration in repurposing FFPE material for next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis is the sequencing artifacts that can arise from the significant damage to nucleic acids due to treatment with formalin, storage at room temperature and extraction. One such class of artifacts consists of chimeric reads that appear to be derived from non-contiguous portions of the genome. Here, we show that a major proportion of such chimeric reads align to both the 'Watson' and 'Crick' strands of the reference genome. We refer to these as strand-split artifact reads (SSARs). This study provides a conceptual framework for the mechanistic basis of the genesis of SSARs and other chimeric artifacts along with supporting experimental evidence, which have led to approaches to reduce the levels of such artifacts. We demonstrate that one of these approaches, involving S1 nuclease-mediated removal of single-stranded fragments and overhangs, also reduces sequence bias, base error rates, and false positive detection of copy number and single nucleotide variants. Finally, we describe an analytical approach for quantifying SSARs from NGS data.

The Genome of the Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas).

Genes, 2017
Jones, Steven J M, Taylor, Gregory A, Chan, Simon, Warren, René L, Hammond, S Austin, Bilobram, Steven, Mordecai, Gideon, Suttle, Curtis A, Miller, Kristina M, Schulze, Angela, Chan, Amy M, Jones, Samantha J, Tse, Kane, Li, Irene, Cheung, Dorothy, Mungall, Karen L, Choo, Caleb, Ally, Adrian, Dhalla, Noreen, Tam, Angela K Y, Troussard, Armelle, Kirk, Heather, Pandoh, Pawan, Paulino, Daniel, Coope, Robin J N, Mungall, Andrew J, Moore, Richard, Zhao, Yongjun, Birol, Inanc, Ma, Yussanne, Marra, Marco, Haulena, Martin
The beluga whale is a cetacean that inhabits arctic and subarctic regions, and is the only living member of the genus . The genome of the beluga whale was determined using DNA sequencing approaches that employed both microfluidic partitioning library and non-partitioned library construction. The former allowed for the construction of a highly contiguous assembly with a scaffold N50 length of over 19 Mbp and total reconstruction of 2.32 Gbp. To aid our understanding of the functional elements, transcriptome data was also derived from brain, duodenum, heart, lung, spleen, and liver tissue. Assembled sequence and all of the underlying sequence data are available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) under the Bioproject accession number PRJNA360851A.

Assembling the 20 Gb white spruce (Picea glauca) genome from whole-genome shotgun sequencing data.

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England), 2013
Birol, Inanc, Raymond, Anthony, Jackman, Shaun D, Pleasance, Stephen, Coope, Robin, Taylor, Greg A, Yuen, Macaire Man Saint, Keeling, Christopher I, Brand, Dana, Vandervalk, Benjamin P, Kirk, Heather, Pandoh, Pawan, Moore, Richard A, Zhao, Yongjun, Mungall, Andrew J, Jaquish, Barry, Yanchuk, Alvin, Ritland, Carol, Boyle, Brian, Bousquet, Jean, Ritland, Kermit, Mackay, John, Bohlmann, Jörg, Jones, Steven J M
White spruce (Picea glauca) is a dominant conifer of the boreal forests of North America, and providing genomics resources for this commercially valuable tree will help improve forest management and conservation efforts. Sequencing and assembling the large and highly repetitive spruce genome though pushes the boundaries of the current technology. Here, we describe a whole-genome shotgun sequencing strategy using two Illumina sequencing platforms and an assembly approach using the ABySS software. We report a 20.8 giga base pairs draft genome in 4.9 million scaffolds, with a scaffold N50 of 20,356 bp. We demonstrate how recent improvements in the sequencing technology, especially increasing read lengths and paired end reads from longer fragments have a major impact on the assembly contiguity. We also note that scalable bioinformatics tools are instrumental in providing rapid draft assemblies.

Circos: an information aesthetic for comparative genomics.

Genome research, 2009
Krzywinski, Martin, Schein, Jacqueline, Birol, Inanç, Connors, Joseph, Gascoyne, Randy, Horsman, Doug, Jones, Steven J, Marra, Marco A
We created a visualization tool called Circos to facilitate the identification and analysis of similarities and differences arising from comparisons of genomes. Our tool is effective in displaying variation in genome structure and, generally, any other kind of positional relationships between genomic intervals. Such data are routinely produced by sequence alignments, hybridization arrays, genome mapping, and genotyping studies. Circos uses a circular ideogram layout to facilitate the display of relationships between pairs of positions by the use of ribbons, which encode the position, size, and orientation of related genomic elements. Circos is capable of displaying data as scatter, line, and histogram plots, heat maps, tiles, connectors, and text. Bitmap or vector images can be created from GFF-style data inputs and hierarchical configuration files, which can be easily generated by automated tools, making Circos suitable for rapid deployment in data analysis and reporting pipelines.




Jianghong An

Staff Scientist

Mikhail (Misha) Bilenky

Staff Scientist

Melika Bonakdar

Computational Biologist

Zoltan Bozoky

Research Associate

Veronika Csizmok

Research Associate

Michael Disyak

Computational Biologist

Sitanshu Gakkhar

Computational Biologist

Alireza Heravi Moussavi

Computational Biologist

Seetha Kumaran

Projects Manager

Sreeja Leelakumari

Research Associate

Jimmy Li

Research Programmer

Adam Lipski

Research Programmer

Dashaylan Naidoo

Research Programmer

Erin Pleasance

Staff Scientist

Gordon Robertson

Staff Scientist

Greg Taylor

Computational Biologist

My Linh Thibodeau

Research Trainee

Emma Titmuss

Research Programmer

Kathleen Wee

Research Associate

Laura Williamson

Staff Scientist

Amir Zadeh

Data Officer


Kevin Fan

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Jean-Michel Garant

Post Doctoral Student

Cameron Grisdale

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Kieran O'Neill

Post-Doctoral Fellow


Vahid Akbari

Graduate Student

Alexandra Bohm

Student Researcher

Luka Culibrk

Graduate Student

Emre Erhan

Graduate Student

Jasleen Grewal

Graduate Student

Harwood Kwan

Graduate Student

Jenny Yang

Graduate Student
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