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.