24-August-12

Major federal and provincial investments in genomics research were announced this week following three recent Genome Canada competitions. The announcement, made at University of Guelph, includes over $10 million in funding to seven projects led by McGill researchers.

A team led by McGill professors Mathieu Blanchette, Jacek Majewski and, Jérome Waldispühl will create and release improved computational and statistical tools for analyzing 3D data in their native 3D context. Their new tools will be integrated with the team’s 3D visualization platform that will help scientists explore the data, build new hypotheses and test them in rigorous statistical frameworks. The results of this project will be made widely available through open-source software that will enable statistically robust analysis of individual and groups of 3D genomic data; provide a virtual reality-based 3D genome browser supporting integrated visualization of genomic data; and include a toolset for integrative mining of genomic and epigenomic data in their 3D genome context. A lay version of the visualization platform will also be used for community outreach through exhibits in schools and museums. Read more here.


McGill researchers among recipients of $34 million grant to combat cancer

Researchers from McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montreal are part of a multinational team led by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), whose project was recently selected for funding through Cancer Research UK’s (CRUK) Grand Challenge competition — an international funding initiative that aims to address some of the biggest global challenges in cancer research. The multidisciplinary team will receive 20 million British pounds (nearly 34 million Canadian dollars) over four years to explore the links between chronic inflammation and cancer.

The project, known as STrOmal ReprograMing (STORMing Cancer) Provides New Directions to Prevent and Revert Chronic Inflammation, aims to find novel ways of treating cancer caused by inflammation and to develop new options to prevent cancer from developing in high-risk patients with chronic inflammatory diseases.

“I am thrilled to be part of this world-class cancer research hub, along with colleagues from the RI-MUHC and McGill,” said co-investigator Dr. Lorenzo Ferri, David S. Mulder Chair in Surgery at McGill and a clinician-scientist from the Cancer Research Program at the RI-MUHC. “This grant will allow us to examine cancer from a different angle. Rather than solely studying the mutations in cancer cells, as we’ve been doing for decades, the STORMing Cancer project will aim to identify the signals and drivers of chronic inflammation that result in alterations to the protein and cellular “scaffolding” supporting tissues ultimately leading to cancer.” Read more here.


Shared genetic marker offers new promise in targeting specific ovarian and lung cancers

Two new papers, published simultaneously in Nature Communications and led by researchers at McGill University, offer promise that a drug currently used to treat estrogen positive breast cancer may be effective in treating two different types of cancer, one rare and one common form.

The breakthrough discovery launching this research came in 2014 when Dr. William Foulkes, James McGill Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Oncology and Human Genetics at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and a medical geneticist at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), showed that small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT), a rare but highly fatal cancer which primarily strikes younger women, is caused by mutations in the gene SMARCA4. Read more here


LES 10 DÉCOUVERTES DE 2018 Une molécule prometteuse contre la malaria

Une molécule dérivée d’une plante combat la malaria sur deux fronts: en plus de s’en prendre au parasite, elle pourrait devenir le premier traitement contre l’une de ses complications les plus dangereuses.

Plasmodium falciparum, dangereux représentant de la famille des parasites qui causent la malaria, est un spécialiste du système immunitaire humain. Se glissant au cœur de nos globules rouges, il infecte chaque année plus de 200 millions de personnes grâce au coup de pouce de certains moustiques.

« C’est un parasite extrêmement bien adapté pour infecter l’humain, explique David Langlais, professeur adjoint au Département de génétique humaine de l’Université McGill. Il a évolué à nos côtés sur une très longue période de temps. » L’infection culmine avec la destruction de nos globules rouges, entraînant de fortes fièvres et de l’anémie.

Il est possible de prévenir la malaria – ou paludisme – par la prise d’antipaludiques ; ces mêmes médicaments sont utilisés à fortes doses pour traiter l’infection.

Originally published in Quebec Science. Read more here


November winner of the Relève étoile Jacques-Genest award

John Morris, a PhD student in Human Genetics at McGill University, is the award winner of the Relève étoile Jacques-Genest award of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). His Award-winning publication: Assessment of the genetic and clinical determinants of fracture risk: genome wide association and mendelian randomisation study is published in The British Medical Journal.

Osteoporosis is a common and debilitating disease associated with age that causes bones to thin and become more porous, leading to an increased risk of fracture. To study the genetic aspects of fracture risk, John Morris led a genetic association study to identify the genes that influence the risk of osteoporotic fracture.

Read the full abstract here.

The Relève étoile award (new name for the Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles award) is awarded to student-researchers by each of the three Fonds de recherche du Québec.

The FRQS Relève étoile award is now named after Jacques Genest as a tribute to this great researcher and builder.

To learn more about the awards, click here.



25-Feb-10

rozen08A

February 19th, 2010

Interim Vice-Principal Research and International Relations

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Rima Rozen as Interim Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations), effective March 1st, 2010. In this position, she will report directly to the Principal and Vice-Chancellor and will serve as a member of the University’s senior team until a successor to Professor Thérien is appointed. I am most grateful to Professor Rozen for her willingness to serve in this capacity.

A distinguished professor in the Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Biology departments and a James McGill Professor, Rozen served previously as Scientific Director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Deputy Scientific Director of the MUHC Research Institute. She established the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Molecular Genetics Diagnostics Service, a pre-eminent DNA analysis centre. Professor Rozen is recognized for her research in the genetics-nutrition field and continues to direct her laboratory at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.


18-Feb-10

18021005

February 22, 2010 – 7:30 p.m.

The Scriver Family Visiting Professorship Public Lecture

“Genetics and the Future of Medicine”


11-Feb-10

DewarPolychronakos

A recent article by Constatin Polychronakos and Ken Dewar (et al.) was published in this week’s issue of nature: International weekly journal of science.


04-Feb-10

sladekHuman Genetics faculty member, Rob Sladek is co-author of an article in nature: International weekly journal of science. His research was also featured by the Montreal Gazette earlier this week.


21-Jan-10

Scriver DSR pic