June 2014



Lean Launch Pad: Spring 2014 Cohort

The spring 2014 LLP cohort just completed their final session on June 20th. Congratulations to all teams – Pendulum, Metamixis, Blast-seq Canada, and Quit! Special thanks to our facilitators, Iain Verigin and Jennifer Thompson, and mentors Carl Perez, Peter Payne, and Iain Evans for contributing to another successful LLP series. This cohort set our LLP for Genomics record for the most customer discovery interviews at 135! You can read the teams’ reflections on their progress here:

                     Pendulum                           MetaMixis


BLAST-seq Canada

Genomics News

Genomics and Feeding the Future

2014 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition to Focus on Food Safety, Security and Sustainable Production

On June 16 2014, Genome Canada, in partnership with the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), launched a Request for Applications for the 2014 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomics and Feeding the Future. The Competition will support research projects that will create new knowledge and inform public policy for Canada’s agri-food and fisheries & aquaculture sectors and contribute solutions that can help feed the world’s growing population. More info.

Canada Creating Genomics Innovation Network

Request for applications issued, August 1 registration deadline

On May 29, 2014, Genome Canada released a request for applications for membership in the Genomics Innovation Network (GIN) and core operations support funds. The network will create a mechanism for cross-country collaboration in providing access to the highest quality genomic technologies and advice to the research community. More info.

Partner Project News

Lignin: Harnessing Microbial Diversity for Sustainable Use of Forest Biomass Resources – Update

On April 2014, Rahul Singh (RA), James Round (Ph.D. candidate), Cameron Strachan (Research Assistant) and Lindsay Eltis (P.I., Harnessing Microbial Diversity for Sustainable Use of Forest Biomass Resources) attended the Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemical (SBFC) organized by the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB) in Clearwater, Florida, USA. At the symposium, Rahul Singh had a chance to interact and showcase his research to representatives from the biotech industry as well as U.S. Department of Energy. His poster titled “Discovery and engineering of lignin degrading enzymes”, highlighting the collaborative work from the Eltis and Hallam lab, received very positive feedback. In particular, Novozymes and Borregard, the two major biotech companies, showed high interest in the enzymes that were discovered and engineered during the project. He is currently interacting with these companies seeking commercial applications for the enzymes. Overall, the symposium proved a good platform to showcase the Genome Canada project to key players in the field.


AdapTree – Climate vs. Weather: The Why and How of Simulating Climates in Growth Chambers
The Simulating Climates in Growth Chambers Series

Location of the target simulated climates on a map. Photo by The Modern Forest

Location of the target simulated climates on a map. Photo by The Modern Forest

The Background: The Aitken Lab group investigates genetic variation that is meaningful to local adaptation, with a focus on trees. This is especially important in the context of climate change: long-lived trees may become maladapted over time to the local climate. To what extent are trees locally adapted, and to what extent does plasticity enable them to deal with a variety of circumstances? Valuable information is provided by long-term “provenance trials” in the field and nursery-type “common gardens”, in which a collection of genotypes from various sources is grown in the same environment, or set of environments. The weather in such environments varies from year to year and is not under our control. Over a longer term, the impact of this varying weather is expected to average out and represent the local climate. Yet there will always be some extreme event, perhaps an unusually late spring frost, a summer heat wave, a prolonged drought, or perhaps a very wet rainy season, which affects growth and survival in field trials. And these extreme events have a large effect on ‘adaptation’ in the genetic sense: natural selection for fitness. Read More.

The Series: Over the month of June, the team has developed a series of blog postings on simulating winter conditions, heat waves, stimulating germination and bud set. “At the end of the story, you will be familiar with most of the methods we had to use for growing plants for our AdapTree project. If you have tried similar or even stranger things, let me know. I’m curious to find out!” Pia Smets, The Modern Forest.

You can access the series here.

Do you have any news on your research project that you’d like to share? Please let us know so we can feature it in our upcoming newsletters.

Recent Events

Evaluating Genomic Science: A Conversation with Dr. Samantha Evans, Director of Evaluation, Genome Canada

On May 21st, Dr. Samantha Evans joined us for an open dialogue on demonstrating the impact of current and future Genome Canada research projects. You can access the session’s presentation here. Read Dr. Evans’ Bio.

Evaluating Genomic Science: A Conversation with Dr. Samantha Evans from UBC UILO on Vimeo.

Upcoming Events

Digital IP and Rights Management – July 7th, UBC Continuing Studies

Learn to determine who owns rights to digital content and discover both the opportunities and risks with the transfer of information. What are the limits to curating digital content when producing, borrowing or sharing in a public or private space? More info.

Molecular Biology Workshop – July 28th – August 1st, The Michael Smith Labs

This intense 5 day workshop will focus on a myriad of different techniques used in the molecular manipulation of DNA, RNA and protein, as well as inclusion of lectures of high throughput genomic techniques. Primarily aimed at researchers who are new to the area, familiar but require a quick updating, or would like more practical bench training. Hands on techniques covered include: Various nucleic acid purification methodologies (silica bead, organic, and/or pI based),restriction digests, ligations, dephosphorylation assays, agarose gel electrophoresis, transformation (including electroporation), PCR, reverse transcriptase assay, real time qPCR, SDS-PAGE,Western blot analysis, Isoelectric focusing strips, and 2D protein gels. Lectures on next-gen sequencing, SNPs, microarrays, bioinformatic tools. To register or inquire about the workshop, please contact Dr. David Ng at db@mail.ubc.ca or 604-822-6264. More information can be found at bioteach.ubc.ca.

View our calendar for more upcoming events.

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