Canada's national platform for genome sequencing and analysis

Naveed's Note

In celebration of World DNA Day on April 25, we recognized the important advances being made by the national HostSeq Initiative led by CGEn. To-date, 10,057 samples have been collected, 8,317 samples have been sequenced and 6,110 clinical data records have been added to the databank. This herculean effort is a result of close collaborations and unique partnerships across Canada. HostSeq would not be possible without the commitment of HostSeq leadership, investigators across the country and funders, including Genome Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The resulting HostSeq databank will be Canada’s largest national genomic databank to date containing genome sequences from 10,000+ individuals affected by COVID-19, linked with medical and clinical data that is easily accessible to investigators. In addition, all HostSeq participants consented to broad sharing and use of their data, meaning the databank can continue to fuel other health research beyond COVID-19. HostSeq has created the required infrastructure and lays the foundation for large-scale genomics efforts in Canada that will offer returns far beyond those provided by study-specific research.
The HostSeq project has proven that large-scale genomics is a present reality in Canada. The time is now for all partners and stakeholders to come together and build on the years of investment and effort towards a Canadian ecosystem where research is enabled by large datasets. My latest op-ed entitled ‘Large-scale national data approach key to unlocking power of genomics’ published in The Hill Times discusses why Canada needs a plan to translate the power of “big” genomic data into positive impacts for Canadians and the Canadian economy. In the months ahead, I look forward to continuing our work with partners and funders across the country to develop a plan for a national genomic resource in Canada.

Dr. Naveed Aziz

Sequence Showcase: HostSeq


Read the latest resource paper entitled ‘HostSeq: A Canadian Whole Genome Sequencing and Clinical Data Resource’ by Dr. Lisa Strug et al.

(medRxiv preprint)
"The need for a national genomics databank grew very quickly early on in the pandemic. As soon as we started to observe differences of disease manifestation and symptoms in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus, we realized that there was an urgent need to collect and analyze population-wide host genetic data. The Government of Canada’s prior investment in CGEn allowed us to deploy our capacity to sequence genetic information of Canadians who were experiencing vastly different health outcomes in response to infection by the virus.” – Dr. Naveed Aziz, Chair of the HostSeq Implementation Committee and Chief Executive Officer, CGEn

Staff Spotlight

Our greatest resource is our people. To shine a light on the CGEn community, we will spotlight a staff member or trainee in each issue. Want to nominate your team member or yourself to be in the spotlight? Please email us!

CGEn Staff: Meredith McLaren

I grew up in Ajax, ON and did my undergraduate and graduate degrees in molecular genetics at the University of Toronto. I worked in industry R&D, life sciences consulting, and at a number of not-for-profit organizations supporting research and innovation before joining CGEn as Director, Programs & Partnerships at the end of 2021. I also have 3 kids at home who keep me busy.

Much of my time is spent supporting the work of many CGEn colleagues, particularly for the HostSeq project. We are busy ensuring that the HostSeq project ramps down smoothly as it reaches its milestone of creating a databank of genomic and associated clinical data for 10,000 people impacted by COVID-19 in Canada. We are also busy conveying the success and potential of this project to various stakeholders - both for COVID-19 research and as a model for future data-driven genomics research in Canada.

Genomic information feeds into many fields of study and allows researchers to answer important questions about human health, agriculture and how species can adapt to climate change. The outcomes of genomics research are already impacting the everyday life of Canadians. I have felt this personally - we recently learned of an inherited mutation in our family that (partly) explains cancer diagnoses in past generations and allows for enhanced screening for those carrying the mutated gene. This is one small example of how years of research into identifying pathogenic genes associated with disease can impact Canadians' health (and the savings for the Canadian health care system by detecting and treating disease earlier).

CGEn is the only infrastructure in Canada that is able to support large-scale genomics projects that will support Canadian research with Canadian data. As genomics moves more and more into a phase where data generation is required at-scale to enable new discoveries, CGEn will continue to be a critical Canadian asset. 

Genomics News & Events

We're pleased to share news, publications, events and other items of interest to the genomics community in our monthly newsletter. Please share your news and items of interest with us. We accept submissions at any time to:
'Large-scale national data approach key to unlocking power of genomics' by Dr. Naveed Aziz published in The Hill Times

‘Genome-wide tandem repeat expansions contribute to schizophrenia risk’ by Dr. Ryan Yuen et al. published in Nature

News & Events
The Canada BioGenome Project joins international quest to understand life on Earth’ – Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre 
In case you missed it, the first episode of CGEn’s new Synapsis podcast, features an interview between Dr. Naveed Aziz and Gordon McCauley, President and CEO of adMare BioInnovations, about the life sciences ecosystem in Canada. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts:
Profile your research with CIHR! ‘The faces of health research’ aims to share “life-changing research happening right here in Canada – presented by researchers and patients in their own words.” If you share your story, please let us know so we can highlight it in CGEn communications.
Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) is seeking feedback from the international genomics community about what is working and what is not working across the GA4GH organization. Share your thoughts in the GA4GH Community Survey or attend one of many upcoming GA4GH Town Hall Discussions.
Share your news with us!

Send an email to CGEn Communications:
Share this CGEn Sequence with others:
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Connect with CGEn:
Twitter Twitter
Email Email
LinkedIn LinkedIn

Did someone forward this email to you?
Click below to subscribe to our future updates.

Access past CGEn Sequence newsletters
Copyright © 2022 CGEn, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
CGEn · TCAG, 13th Floor, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning · 686 Bay Street · Toronto, ON M5G 0A4 · Canada

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp