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Professional Development, Training and Education

ISCBintel and Achievements


Rob Beiko
Dalhousie University

Guillaume Bourque
McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Center

Carlos Camacho
University of Pittsburgh

Sheelagh CarpendaleSheelagh Carpendale
Department of Computer Science
University of Calgary, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Amy Caudy
University of Toronto

Belinda Chang
University of Toronto

Dannie DurandDannie Durand
Associate Professor
Biological Sciences and Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

> Click here for biography <

Brendan FreyBrendan Frey
President & Chief Executive Officer
Deep Genomics
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Igor JurisicaIgor Jurisica
Departments of Medical Biophysics
and Computer Science
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Reducing Bias in Network-Based Analyses

> Click here for biography <

Mads Kaern
University of Ottawa

> Click here for biography <

Model Discrimination and Inference in Quantitative Combinatorial Perturbation Analysis

Genome editing provides a powerful tool to identify gene function and to characterize genetic interactions. This talk presents a theoretical framework to determine how genes and signals influence one another. It is shown how this framework enables the unbiased inference of causality and order within gene networks from quantitative genetic interaction data. Such inference methods will become increasingly important as genome editing technologies transition from single genes to large-scale systematic analyses.

Alexey I. NesvizhskiiAlexey Nesvizhskii
Associate Professor
Departments of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics and Pathology
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 

> Click here for biography <

Sushmita RoySushmita Roy
Assistant Professor
Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
Systems Biology
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Computational Inference of Regulatory Network Dynamics on Developmental and Evolutionary Lineages

> Click here for biography <

James WasmuthJames Wasmuth
Assistant Professor
Ecosystem & Public Health (EPH)
University of Calgary, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Matt Weirauch
Cincinnati Children’s

Sheelagh Carpendale

Sheelagh Carpendale is a Professor in Computer Science at the University of Calgary where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization and NSERC/AITF/SMART Technologies Industrial Research Chair in Interactive Technologies. She has many received awards including the E.W.R. NSERC STEACIE Memorial Fellowship; a BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts Interactive Awards); an ASTech Innovations in Technology award; and the CHCCS Achievement Award, which is presented periodically to a Canadian researcher who has made a substantial contribution to the fields of computer graphics, visualization, or human-computer interaction. She leads the Innovations in Visualization (InnoVis) research group and initiated the interdisciplinary graduate program, Computational Media Design. Her research on information visualization, large interactive displays, and new media draws on her dual background in Computer Science (BSc. and Ph.D. Simon Fraser University) and Visual Arts (Sheridan College, School of Design and Emily Carr, College of Art). She is an internationally known for both information visualization and multi-touch interaction research.
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Dannie Durand

Dannie Durand is an associate professor in Biological Sciences and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on the emergence of new genes via gene duplication, domain shuffling, and horizontal transfer. She is the author of the Notung software package, an integrated suite of phylogenetic reconciliation methods for analyzing gene family evolution. She holds a BS degree in physics from MIT and MS and PhD degrees in computer science from Columbia University. Durand is a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Science and Engineering fellow.
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Brendan Frey

Brendan Frey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Deep Genomics and a Professor at the University of Toronto. He has made fundamental contributions in the areas of machine learning and genome biology, and is widely known for his work on using machine learning to understand how genetic variation leads to disease. Dr. Frey has received numerous distinctions and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a John C. Polanyi Fellow. He recently co-founded a University of Toronto spinoff, Deep Genomics, which is using machine learning to change the course of genomic medicine. Dr. Frey has consulted for several industrial research and development laboratories in Canada, the United States and England, and has served on the Technical Advisory Board of Microsoft Research. His former students and postdoctoral fellows include professors, industrial researchers and developers at universities and industrial laboratories from across Canada, the United States and Europe.
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Igor Jurisica

Igor Jurisica is Tier I Canada Research Chair in Integrative Cancer Informatics, Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Professor at University of Toronto and Visiting Scientist at IBM CAS. He is also an Adjunct Professor at he School of Computing, Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen's U,Computer Science at York University , and an Honorary Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Since 2015, he has also served as Chief Scientist at the Creative Destruction Lab, Rotman School of Management.

His research focuses on integrative computational biology and the representation, analysis and visualization of high-dimensional data to identify prognostic and predictive signatures, drug mechanism_of_action and in-silico repurposing of drugs. Interests include prediction and analysis of protein interactions networks, modeling signaling cascades and high-throughput protein crystallography.

He has published extensively on data mining, visualization and cancer informatics, including multiple papers in Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Methods, J Clinical Oncology, and has over 8,932 citations since 2011. He has been included in Thomson Reuters 2015 & 2014 list of Highly Cited Researchers, and The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2015 & 2014 Reports.
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Mads Kaern

Dr. Mads Kaern is a Principal Investigator at the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, an Associate Professor of Cellular & Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and an Affiliate Scientist with the Cancer Therapeutics Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. With expertise in synthetic biology, dynamical systems and computational biology, Dr. Kaern's research focuses on gene regulatory processes and networks, and their implications. He has authored numerous studies including one of the first characterizations of “bursts” in gene transcription, and the model-based design of viruses that kill cancer.
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Alexey Nesvizhskii

Dr. Alexey Nesvizhskii is a tenured Associate Professor in the Departments of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics and Pathology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research laboratory (www.nesvilab.org) is working in the area of bioinformatics, proteomics, and systems biology. The computational tools previously developed by Dr. Nesvizhskii and his colleagues, such as Trans-Proteomic Pipeline (including PeptideProphet and ProteinProphet), PeptideAtlas, SAINT, CRAPome, and DIA-Umpire are among the most cited proteome informatics tools and used by hundreds of laboratories worldwide. His lab actively collaborates with technology developers, biologists, and clinical scientists on a variety of projects, including analysis protein interaction networks, integrative modeling of multi-omics data to reconstruct targetable pathways in cancer, and biomarker discovery. Since 2015 Dr. Nesvizhskii serves as the Director of the Proteomics Resource Facility at the University of Michigan which aims to provide cutting-edge proteomics capabilities to the University-wide research community. As an enthusiastic educator, Dr. Nesvizhskii directs the NIH funded T32 Proteome Informatics of Cancer Training Program at the University of Michigan, and teaches graduate-level courses in the area of bioinformatics, proteomics, and systems biology.
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Sushmita Roy

Sushmita Roy is an assistant professor at the Biostatistics and Medical Informatics department and in Systems Biology at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

She got her PhD in 2009 from the University of New Mexico and a post-doctorate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Sushmita's research focuses on the development and application of statistical machine learning methods to problems in regulatory network inference and analysis.

Sushmita is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship and an NSF CAREER award.
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James Wasmuth

Dr. Wasmuth obtained his BSc in Biochemistry at Imperial College London and then moved to the University of York to complete an MRes degree in Bioinformatics.  He undertook PhD studies at the University of Edinburgh, where he worked in parasite genomics.  Dr. Wasmuth moved to Toronto to carry a postdoctoral fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children for four years.



Click here to download PDF of the promotional flyer.
The GLBIO/CCBC Great Lakes Bioinformatics and the Canadian Computational Biology Conference 2016, May 16 - 19, 2016


Image Credits:

Moshe Dessau

Bar-Ilan University, Israel
An assembly model of Rift valley fever virus (RVFV)
The crystal structure of RVFV Gc, one of the virus' two envelope glycoproteins, fitted into a cryo-EM 3D reconstruction. (Dessau & Modis, PNAS 2013)

Part of the ISMB ECCB 2015 Art and Science Exhibit


Toronto skyline a night
Tourism Toronto, http://tourismtorontoimagegallery.com/




Toronto Airport, Canada
Long Wave, Allen Lambert Galleria, Brookfield Place, Toronto
Photo courtesy of Toronto Tourism & Visitors Association

Toronto Pearson International Airport (code YYZ) is the main point of landing for most domestic and international flights. Toronto Pearson is 27 km (17 miles) west of downtown (about a half-hour drive). To get from the airport to downtown, you can:

1. Take the UP (Union Pearson) Express, a brand-new dedicated express rail service connecting Union station to Toronto Pearson, departing every 15 minutes. Fares cost up to $27.50 depending on destination and type of pass, go to UPExpress.com to find out more.

2. Hire a taxi or an airport limo: Look for the lineup signs for taxis. The average cost into the city is about $50.

3. Catch a shuttle bus: Many hotels offer airport shuttles, so check whether yours does.

4. Rent a car: You’ll find major car-rental outfits at both Terminal 1 and Terminal. Most are open daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

  • Alamo, 1-800-GO-ALAMO
  • Avis, 1-800-TRY-AVIS Budget, 1-800-268-8900
  • Dollar, 1-800-800-4000 Enterprise, 1-800-261-7331
  • Hertz, 1-800-263-0600 National, 1-800-CAR-RENT
  • Thrifty, 1-800-THRIFTY

5. Take public transit: You’ll save money if you take the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Catch the 192 Airport Rocket bus to Kipling subway station, or take the 52A Lawrence West bus to Lawrence West subway station. Both stations are on subway lines servicing the downtown core. Visit ttc.ca.

  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (code YTZ), located on the Toronto Islands, services domestic, chartered and select U.S. flights. Billy Bishop is a short ferry ride from Toronto’s Harbourfront district, then mere minutes from downtown’s taxis and public transit. A tunnel is being built and will make the connection even faster (anticipated completion is early 2015).


Toronto Coach Terminal is the main intercity bus depot, located downtown at 610 Bay St. GO Transit buses service inter-region travel in and around the Greater Toronto Area. The GO Transit bus hub is located at 140 Bay St. (at Front Street, just east of Union Station). Call 416-869-3200 for more information or visit gotransit.com.


All trains arrive and depart from Union Station (65 Front St. W.). VIA Rail handles most of Canada’s intercity routes and connects to the U.S. via Amtrak. The Amtrak/VIA Maple Leaf route runs between New York City and Toronto daily and takes around 12 hours, depending on the border wait. For more information: 1-888-VIA-RAIL and viarail.ca; 1-800-USA-RAIL and amtrak.com. GO Transit trains service inter-region travel in and around the Greater Toronto Area. The green-and-white trains operate from Union Station. Call 416-869-3200 for more information or visit gotransit.com. For general station information, call the Travellers’ Aid Society of Toronto at 416-366-7788.



The headquarters hotel for GLBIO/CCBC 2016, the Chelsea Hotel is Canada's largest hotel with 1,590 guest rooms, is centrally located and just steps from the city's best shopping districts, world-class theatres, vibrant nightlife and exciting attractions. This full-service urban resort offers four restaurants and lounges, separate adult and family recreation areas and pools - including the "corkscrew" - downtown Toronto's only indoor waterslide. Complimentary in room WiFi and use of the fitness Centre are included with your stay.
The room block is now closed.  If you are interested in booking a room at our conference rate, please email Bel Hanson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will attempt to accommodate your request.

These University of Toronto Dormitories are located just steps away from the GLBIO/CCBC 2016 venue. These basic rooms can be booked as a single or double, have a shared bathroom and include breakfast. Complimentary WiFi is available in the common areas and internet in your room but you must bring your own Ethernet cable.




Mathieu Blanchette, PhD MATHIEU BLANCHETTE

Associate Professor
School of Computer Science
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Know Thy Ancestors to Know Thyself: Improving Our Understanding of the Human Genome Using Paleogenomics

I will first discuss how the genomes of ancestral mammalian species can be reconstructed with surprisingly high accuracy from the genomes of extant species. I will then present how inferred ancestral sequences can be used to improve the detection of ancient evolutionary events such as transposable element and pseudogene insertions that have shaped mammalian genomes. This information can be exploited by statistical and machine learning algorithms to improve the accuracy of transcription factor binding site and micro-RNA target site prediction.

Jane Carlton, PhD JANE CARLTON

Department of Biology
New York University, USA

> Click here for biography <

Harnessing Genomics to Study the Global Public Health Burden of Malaria

Malaria is a devastating disease that caused 0.5 million deaths and ~214 million cases in 2015, and more than half the world’s population is at risk of the disease. In the Center for the Study of Complex Malaria in India, one of ten Centers that form a network across the malarious world, we harness the tools of genomics and bioinformatics to study which species and their genotypes infect subjects temporally and spatially, and how this variation causes changes in disease phenotype and transmission. Our research provides insights into the phylogeography of different malaria parasite species, as well as improved methods for their control.

Aled Edwards, PhD ALED EDWARDS

Professor, Molecular Genetics
CEO, Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)
Uniersity of Toronto, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Open Science: From Computational Biology to the Real World


Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
University of Toronto

> Click here for biography <

Metagenomics of Microbial Dechlorinating Consortia

Groundwater contamination is a serious threat to global health and prosperity. Petroleum hydrocarbons, industrial solvents and metals are some of the most frequent culprits. Some microbes have evolved and adapted to transform or detoxify contaminants in the environment. Chlorinated solvents such a trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene are widely used as industrial degreasers, dry-cleaning agents and precursors in chemical synthesis – and thus very common groundwater contaminants. Owing to their toxicity, even small spills render groundwater unsuitable for use, and cleanup is typically a costly and long-term undertaking. A fascinating group of subsurface microorganisms, collectively referred to as organohalide-respiring bacteria, are significant players in the global halogen cycle. Certain species, such as Dehalococcoides, can dechlorinate the major dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethene and the common industrial solvent trichloroethene to the benign product ethene. Remarkably, these organisms obtain energy for growth from dechlorination and several successful demonstrations of bioaugmentation, where an aquifer is inoculated with culture, have lead to the development of a commercial market for such dechlorinating cultures. Through metagenome investigations in our own lab and elsewhere, we are shedding light on these dynamics and function of these remarkable, ubiquitous, microbial communities.

Jennifer Gardy, PhD JENNIFER GARDY

Assistant Professor
School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia, Canada

Infectious Disease Genomics: Bioinformatics Challenges

In the last five years, genome sequencing has completely changed how public health agencies investigate outbreaks and epidemics of infectious disease. Real-time sequencing of pathogens is being used for everything from rapid diagnostics to inferring individual transmission events, and while the sequencing is straightforward, the associated bioinformatics and interpretation is not. In this talk, I will cover some of the ways genomics is being used in public health and the informatics challenges that this new field of “genomic epidemiology” is facing.


Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
University of Toronto, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Decoding Gen Regulation

Understanding how regulatory sequence works is one of the greatest challenges facing molecular biology, and the next major hurdle in human genetics. There is now a wealth of data on individual genome sequences, chromatin profiles, and expression outputs, but the details of how cells identify regulatory sequences, or how their functions are exerted, are surprisingly difficult to decipher. We aim to solve this problem by determining and compiling motifs for transcription factors and RNA binding proteins, and developing computational models of regulatory sequence identity and function.


Professor, FRSC, FCAHS
BC Cancer Agency, Canada

> Click here for biography <

Genomic Analysis of Cancer Genomes to Aid in Clinical Decision Making

We are using genomic and transcriptomic analysis of patient tumours to support cancer treatment decision-making. This involves a large number of computational analysis to be conducted and consolidated. Ultimately, these analyses will need to indicate the sensitivity or resistance to therapies of the tumour that could be considered by a clinician. I will discuss the computational pipeline that has been established to move toward this goal.


Computational Biologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, USA

> Click here for biography <

Decoding Gene Regulatory Programs in Cellular Differentiation

In order to differentiate into distinct lineages, multipotent cells must undergo large-scale remodeling of chromatin and orchestrate dramatic gene expression changes. How do multipotent cells encode the potential for multiple cell fates, and how can we decipher the transcriptional programs that carry out cell state transitions in commitment to specific fates? To address these questions, we carried out an integrative computational analysis of enhancer landscape and gene expression dynamics in hematopoietic differentiation using DNase-seq, histone mark ChIP-seq, and RNA-seq. We examined how early establishment of enhancers and complex regulatory locus control together govern gene expression changes in cell state transitions. We found that high complexity genes – i.e. those with a large total number of DNase-mapped enhancers across the lineage – differ architecturally and functionally from low complexity genes, achieve larger expression changes, and are enriched for both cell-type specific and “transition” enhancers, which are established in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and maintained in one differentiated cell fate but lost in others. We then developed a quantitative model to predict gene expression changes from the DNA sequence content and lineage history of active enhancers. Our method accurately predicts expression changes for high complexity genes during differentiation, suggests a novel mechanistic role for PU.1 at transition peaks in B cell specification, and can be used to improve assignment of enhancers to genes. We are using these methods to decode normal cell state transitions in T lymphocyte differentiation and aberrant cell states in cancer.

After completing his Ph.D. (U. of Washington, 2002) and postdoc (UC Santa Cruz, 2003), Mathieu joined the School of Computer Science at McGill and founded the Computational Genomics Lab. His team and him have published in more than 70 publications in the fields of genome evolution, sequence analysis, and gene regulation. Recently elected member of the College of Scholar of the Canadian Royal Society, he was a Sloan Fellow (2009), and received the Outstanding Young Computer Scientist Researcher Prize from the Canadian Association for Computer Science (2012), and the Chris Overton prize (2006).


Jane Carlton is a Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. She received her PhD in Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, and has worked at several genomics institutions in the U.S., including NCBI at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, and the sequencing center TIGR, founded by J. Craig Venter. Professor Carlton is passionate about genomics and the power it has to revolutionize the study of parasites. Her research involves comparative genomics of different species of malaria parasites, and the sexually transmitted protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. She has a keen interest in global public health through her collaborations with scientists in India, first as the PI of a Fogarty Global Infectious Disease training and research grant, with exchange of trainees between New Delhi and New York, and now as Program Director of a 7 year “Center for the Study of Complex Malaria in India”, one of 10 International Centers of Excellence in Malaria Research funded by NIH. In 2013 she was awarded an NYU Grand Challenge project “Mapping the New York City Metagenome”, which uses next generation sequencing to characterize, map and ultimately track microbes on paper currency, bicycles and sewage circulating in the city. She has published more than 100 articles and reviews, and her work has been profiled by CNN, BBC, The Economist, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. She received the American Society of Parasitologists’ Stoll-Stunkard Memorial Award in 2010, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. Professor Carlton’s ultimate goal is to cultivate and expand the science and use of genomics to improve global health.


Aled Edwards is CEO of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), a public-private partnership that generates open-source research tools to support drug discovery.

Over the years, Al and his teams at the SGC have contributed ~15% of all the available structural information for human proteins in the public domain. The SGC and its collaborators in the pharmaceutical industry are using this structural information to generate and make available chemical probes for members of several human protein families. These probes are being tested in patient derived cells and tissue within an expanding open source network of clinical institutions. At least 20 clinical trials of first-in-class medicines have been launched based on SGC research.

Al did his undergraduate and graduate work at McGill University and did his post-doctoral work at Stanford University with Roger Kornberg, where he initiated the structural biology of RNA polymerase II.


Elizabeth A. Edwards, PhD, P. Eng., Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and Cell and Systems Biology (Status only), University of Toronto. Dr. Elizabeth Edwards holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, and a PhD degree (1993) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She is internationally known for her work on anaerobic bioremediation, the application of molecular biology and metagenomics to uncover novel microbial processes, and the transition of laboratory research into commercial practice to develop bioremediation and bioaugmentation strategies for groundwater pollutants. She has received several prestigious awards including an NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation with Geosyntec Consultants (2009), a Killam Research Fellowship (2008), a Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2003), and an NSERC Women’s Faculty Award (1995). She is a fellow of the AAAS (2011), and was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering (2011) and the Royal Society of Canada (2012). She is also the founding director of BioZone, a Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering Research and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Anaerobic Biotechnology.



Dr. Jennifer Gardy is an Assistant Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Public Health Genomics. Based at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, her lab uses microbial genomics, phylogenetics, and bioinformatics to understand the transmission and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, influenza, and measles. Her group was the first to use genome sequencing to reconstruct a large outbreak of tuberculosis and she is continuing to apply this novel technique to other outbreak scenarios and to routine public health microbiology. Her group is also interested in how information visualization techniques can be used in public health to better communicate complex data to stakeholders. Before joining BCCDC in 2009, Jennifer’s graduate training was in computational biology. She completed her PhD in 2006 under Fiona Brinkman at Simon Fraser University, where she developed the PSORT-B tool for bacterial protein subcellular localization prediction. She then spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at UBC in Bob Hancock’s lab, where she developed the Cerebral Cytoscape plugin for network visualization and where she contributed to InnateDB, a data warehouse for systems biology investigations of the innate immune system.

Infectious disease genomics: bioinformatics challenges: Advances in DNA sequencing technology are dramatically changing public health microbiology. Sequencing-based diagnostics can give us a complete picture of a patient’s infection in just a few hours, while genomic investigations of disease outbreaks are allowing us to reconstruct transmission events and understand the movement of a pathogen through a population to a degree never before possible. This new era isn’t without its informatics challenges, though, from understanding how much we can trust the genomic results to accreditation of software pipelines for clinical use. This talk will introduce some the ways in which genomics is being used in public health, along with the bioinformatics issues facing the medical microbiology genomics community.


Timothy R. Hughes is a Professor in at the at the University of Toronto. He studied engineering and music at the University of Iowa, and received his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine, working on telomere replication. He did his postdoctoral work at Rosetta Inpharmatics (now Merck) working on microarray technology and its applications, including the development of ink-jet arrays now available from Agilent. Since moving to Toronto in 2001, Dr. Hughes has been the recipient of a Canada Research Chair in Genome Biology, the Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the Terry Fox Young Investigator award, and an HHMI foreign scholarship. He has authored or co-authored over 100 manuscripts, and is a scholar of the Canadian Institutes For Advanced Research. His laboratory has worked in gene regulation, systems biology, RNA processing, genome sequencing, and computational biology, and has a fundamental goal of understanding how the genome sequence is interpreted by the cell.


Dr. Jones gained his PhD at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK in 1999, where he was involved in the C. elegans genome project. Currently, he is Head of Bioinformatics and Associate Director of the Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. Dr. Jones has played a role in numerous other genome projects, including that of the human, mouse, rat, bovine, fruitfly and the SARS coronavirus.

Dr. Jones major research focus is in the computational analysis of DNA sequence and the analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data. In healthcare research, he has applied next generation DNA sequencing technology to detect mutations arising in both patient samples and in cancer cell lines in various cancer types and under the influence of different therapeutics. A key goal is to develop bioinformatic approaches to predict the most efficacious therapies from patient tumour samples to help guide clinical decision making.

Amongst Dr. Jones many and varied honours and awards he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada as well as the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He has been invited to give over 120 presentations, nationally and internationally, is an author on over 300 peer reviewed publications and is Principal Investigator and co-applicant on grants totaling over $97 million.


Christina Leslie did her undergraduate degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She was awarded an NSERC 1967 Science and Engineering Fellowship for graduate study and did a PhD in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where her thesis work dealt with differential geometry and representation theory. She won an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship and did her postdoctoral training in the Mathematics Department at Columbia University in 1999-2000. She then joined the faculty of the Computer Science Department and later the Center for Computational Learning Systems at Columbia University, where she began to work in computational biology and machine learning and became the principal investigator leading the Computational Biology Group. In 2007, she moved her lab to the Computational Biology program of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she is currently an Associate Member. Dr. Leslie's research group uses computational methods to study the regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells and the dysregulation of expression programs in cancer. She is well known for developing machine learning approaches – algorithms for learning predictive models from data – for analysis of high-throughput biological data, especially from next-generation sequencing. Focus areas in the lab include dissecting transcriptional and epigenetic programs in differentiation, microRNA-mediated gene regulation, alternative cleavage and polyadenylation, and integrative analysis of tumor data sets.



Canadian Bioinformatics and Computational BiologyOver the past 18 months, the Bioinformatics/Computational Biology (B/CB) Advisory Committee has worked closely with research funders to develop a strategic framework with a view to building a fully integrated Canadian B/CB capacity across the life sciences. One of the key items that has already emerged from this consultative process was the interest and strong willingness to organize a regularly scheduled Canadian Computational Conference. Given the fortuitous planning of the ISMB-sponsored regional GLBIO2016 conference in Toronto, select members of the B/CB advisory group were delighted to be invited to co-organize the first Canadian Computational Biology Conference with the Great Lakes Bioinformatics (GLBIO) conference for 2016.

This first Canadian Computational Biology conference will offer Canadians the opportunity to bring stakeholders together to explore the possibility of an action plan for the formation of a national network, including how it needs to be structured and funded to ensure its sustainability. By establishing a Canadian B/CB conference the research community and stakeholders have the opportunity to build an integrated community that is linked to International initiatives. We look forward to the meeting serving as a platform upon which like-minded individuals will inform others on the potential benefits that such a meeting would bring to the B/CB community in Canada.

In addition to gathering the National and US/Canadian great lakes community in this inaugural Canadian Computational Biology conference, we have the opportunity to put together an exciting scientific program and venue that will benefit students, scientists and managers at all level of people through the proceedings at this conference. As the first launch of the Canadian conference, the organizers are grateful for the considerable organizational support and experience of the International Society of Computational Biology and the local chapter of the Great Lakes Bioinformatics conference, who have done much to assist the Canadian meeting.

Since the beginning of this initiative, both Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (through the Institute of Genetics and its B/CB sub-committee) have been steadfast in their support of this community. While it is clear that there remains much work to be done, both organizations have participated in a vision that brings the Canadian community together. Without their sponsorships, support and assistance the Canadian conference would not have been possible.

Keeping up with the needs of the life sciences community for innovative and increasingly complex algorithms, tools and databases is surpassing existing researcher capacity. There is a pressing need to coordinate and integrate what is currently being done in Canada to be able to meet the demands of the user community. The establishment of this national conference is the first step in coordinating our efforts within the B/CB community, in collaboration with research funders, infrastructure providers, users and other stakeholders. Finally, this first conference will provide the Canadian community with a pivotal forum for discussions as to how best to bring all stakeholders together in support of a sustainable national network.

More details on the Canadian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology community will always be available from the bioinformatics.ca website.

Canadian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology


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