Ontario Genomics Institute

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Ontario Genomics Institute
Type Nonprofit organization
Founded Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Headquarters MaRS Discovery District
Website Ontario Genomics Institute

The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) is a not-for-profit organization that manages cutting-edge genomics research projects and platforms.[1] OGI also helps scientists find paths to the marketplace for their discoveries and the products to which they lead, and it works through diverse outreach and educational activities to raise awareness and facilitate informed public dialogue about genomics and its social impacts.


The Ontario Genomics Institute was created as a not-for-profit corporation in 2000 following a landmark announcement made by the Canadian Government to support the science of genomics. In parallel with genome centres in other regions across Canada, OGI was launched in collaboration with the Ontario government to coordinate genomics programs within the province. Since its foundation in 2000, OGI has identified, developed, funded and managed nearly 50 projects and technology service platforms worth $700 million in funding.[citation needed] OGI supports projects that focus on a number of application areas, including research in human health and disease; agriculture; biodiversity and conservation; environmental stewardship; and natural resources management.[citation needed]

Core Activities[edit]

Research Project Support

OGI’s Research Program sources, cultivates, develops, funds and supports Ontario-led genomics and related research projects with the promise to further enhance Ontario’s position as a leading global contributor to the field of genomics.[citation needed]

Research Programs

OGI has created its own programs to support and assist researchers:

  • Genomics Capacity Building Workshop Program to facilitate international collaborations leading to funding and in-kind contributions in support of large-scale genomics research
Business Development Support

OGI also runs several programs that support the commercialization of research – moving discoveries from the lab into use in the clinic:

  • Pre-commercialization Business Development Fund, which provides early-stage funding as researchers progress towards commercial applications. These projects have revealed new genes associated with disease, created a wealth of resources for others to use to undertake new research and inform existing research.
  • Technology Days, which aim to increase visibility and use of genomics resources that Ontario researchers have helped develop. Click the 'current & ongoing' link below for more information.
  • Science with Industry workshops, which bring together high profile industry partners with academia. These one-day symposia focus on areas of research closely related to or depending on genomics that is both scientifically exciting and emerging in Ontario and internationally as a focus of commercial activity.
  • Two programs of OGI’s have supported advances in technology development and platforms. The Ontario Genomics Platform Affiliates program works to increase the visibility of platform members amongst the research community and currently has six member platforms. The Genomics Technology Seeding program provides investment to finance advances in present technologies, as well as ventures into newer leading-edge technologies in genomics. To date, three investments have been made.
Technology Development and Genomics Platforms

Technology development and genomics platforms are integral to research, and OGI has supported a number of projects focused on the creation of new technologies such as informatics tools to analyze sequence data, imaging and automated computer analysis programs, software systems, microfluidic technologies, microchips able to quantify microRNA, and mass cytometer technology that aids early disease diagnoses.

OGI also plays a critical role in Ontario’s genomics platforms. Genomics platforms provide services such as DNA sequencing, gene-expression and microarray services, and statistical analysis and biobanking. Ontario’s leading platform is The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG), which provides services to more than 1,300 laboratories in 28 countries, 300 academic institutions, 44 companies and 13 government and non-governmental organizations.

International Consortium Initiative

The International Consortium Initiative (ICI) program was launched in 2003 to help fund unique international projects to enhance Canadian science. ICI partners include the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), which works to determine the 3-D structures of proteins of medical significance and put them in the public domain. To date, over 1100 structures are in SGC’s database. The UK and Sweden are the major international collaborators on SGC.

The International Regulome Consortium (IRC) explores regulation of gene function in mammalian cells during development and its implications for stem cell research and regenerative medicine. The potential for stem cell therapeutics and regenerative medicine is huge with an estimated total market in the US alone of $2 – 3 billion over the next five years. Many other countries are involved in the IRC including France, the Netherlands, Singapore, UK and USA.

International Barcode of Life (iBOL) is developing new genomics approaches to make reliable and rapid species identification possible, helping to combat threats including climate change and invasive specific migration, amongst others. 25 countries are involved in iBOL, all working towards building a public resource containing DNA barcodes from five million specimens representing at least 500,000 species over five years. To date, nearly three-quarters of a million DNA barcodes have been sequenced and a global resource containing these DNA barcodes, BOLD, has been created and receives around four million hits per month.[citation needed]

All of the above has resulted in significant outcomes for research in Ontario. Several new resources have emerged including 11 databases and four new software tools.

Outreach Activities[edit]

Genomics Teaching Prize

OGI awards its Genomics Teaching Prize[2] annually to the Ontario secondary school teacher whose teaching best reflects a commitment to introducing the next generation of Ontarians to the effect of genomics and its many applications, outcomes and socio-economic impacts, as well as our understanding of life at the molecular level.

Summer Research Fellowship Program

OGI’s Summer Research Fellowships[3] offer undergraduate students a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful, real-life research in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, or GE³LS (ethical, economic, environmental, legal, and/or social issues relating to genomics and proteomics research). They form part of OGI’s efforts to build the future of genomics in Ontario.

Educational Resources

As part of its outreach function, OGI supports education initiatives and posts a number of educational resources online on its website.[4]

Merging Science and the Arts

OGI has collaborated with several groups to help reach new audiences through the arts. OGI provided a series of Facts behind the Fiction fact sheets to accompany the award-winning Canadian TV science drama ReGenesis.

OGI also partnered with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange to put on the Canadian premier of Ferocious Beauty: Genome.[5]

OGI supported artist Joseph Rossano with a series of collections around DNA Barcoding that have been featured at the Bill Lowe Gallery in Atlanta. More information Bold: The Art of DNA Barcoding and Joseph Rossano - Bold: Moorea.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]