Our Expertise

CGEn builds on the combined knowledge and expertise of the three regional centres in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.  Over the last 15 years, these centres have continually kept state-of-the-art genomics research accessible to all Canadian researchers serving over 1300 users per year from academic, private, and government sectors alike.  Disciplines extend far beyond biomedical and health research, such as environment, infectious disease, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, zoology, botany, ecology, metagenomics, biofuels, bioremediation, disease surveillance, evolutionary biology, and others. The centres' culture of innovation led to a number of globally impactful discoveries. Highlights include:           

  • SARS: In 2003, the Vancouver team was the first in the world to decode the genome of the SARS Coronavirus, providing vital information within one week to assist infectious disease control Marra et al., 2003.
  • Personalizing Cancer Treatment: In 2010 the Vancouver team published the first ever case of a patient whose treatment decision was based on genomics information derived from the patient's tumor. These results laid the foundation for BC's Personalized Onco-Genomics program (POG) Jones et al., 2010,Sheffield et al., 2015 .
  • Advancing autism research through genomics: The Toronto team is a leader in applying whole genome sequencing (WGS) to autism research. Results of the first large scale WGS project in autism conducted at the Toronto centre have been published Nature genetics (Jiang et al., 2013) and the American Journal of Human Genetics Yuen, et al., 2015.
  • Mapping the structural variations in the human genome: The Toronto team's contributions enabled a large scale discovery and mapping of copy number variations and  structural variations in the human genome Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, 2010.


The CGEn team also has a strong track record in method and technology development generating some of the earliest publications for RNA sequencing Morin et al., 2008, and for analyzing histone modifications Robertson et al., 2007.  

A number of bioinformatics tools developed by the CGEn centres have been adopted by researchers across the globe, examples include the CIRCOS viewer, which provides a graphical synopsis of genomic changes and alterations Krzywinski et al, 2009, and the ABySS assembler, which was the first short read assembler capable of assembling mammalian sized genomes Simpson et al, 2009.