Scientists will get a closer-than-ever look at everything from molars to soils with today’s opening of the Faculty of Dentistry’s Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics at the University of British Columbia.
Phenogenomics is the analyses of form and function associated with altered gene expression. To measure changes, the Centre provides three-dimensional imaging and the associated analyses – all of which may also be applied to a broad spectrum of non-biological specimens.
Supported by $10.1 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the BC Knowledge Development Fund, and UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry, the facility and state-of-the-art imaging equipment will enable researchers from medicine to earthquake engineering to capture two- and three-dimensional information and perform in-depth analyses into the structure of specimens – from human tissue to rocks.
The Centre offers a comprehensive suite of imaging technologies including scanning electron microscopy, optical imaging, X-ray imaging and mass spectroscopy and is home to one of the fastest micro-CT scanners of its kind in Western Canada.
Understanding the structure of material such as bone tissue is crucial to shedding light on inflammatory conditions such as gum disease and arthritis, as well as bone development abnormalities like cleft lip and cleft palate. Both areas affect millions of Canadians.
Researchers in UBC’s Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences have already used the imaging facility to investigate the properties of shale rock, hoping to provide new insights to improve mining technologies.
The Centre is available to researchers across UBC’s various disciplines as well as those from other universities, research organizations and industry. For more information, visit www.phenogenomics.dentistry.ubc.ca.
BACKGROUND | PHENOGENOMICS
Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology)
“Our government recognizes that success in today’s global economy means investing in research and innovation. This new facility will play a critical role in advancing research in a wide range of scientific endeavours. CFI investments such as this also have a direct impact on the local economy, creating high-quality, high-paying jobs through the development, modernization and acquisition of research infrastructure.”
John Yap, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
“Our government was happy to support the High-Throughput Phenogenomics Centre because not only will it advance our ability to diagnose diseases, it will also be beneficial to other areas of research occurring at UBC.
Helen Burt, UBC Associate Vice President Research
“The continued support from federal and provincial governments for leading-edge research infrastructure has made UBC researchers the envy of their colleagues around the world and enabled Canadian institutions to attract the brightest minds and make crucial discoveries.”
Dr. Edward Putnins, UBC dentistry professor and associate dean of research graduate and postgraduate studies
“Researchers from diverse backgrounds interacting at the Centre are exposed to new imaging methods and inspired to nurture new collaborations. Sharing resources and expertise accelerates the advancement of science to the benefit of society in British Columbia, Canada, and beyond. The available computer support infrastructure also accelerates the processing of massive amounts of data and results in more discoveries, faster.”
Nancy Ford, Director, UBC Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics
“The Centre’s broad goal provides two- and three-dimensional information and analysis about the structure of specimens, such technology pushes the boundaries of what can be ‘seen’ and analyzed in three dimensions.”
Greg Frenette, Director of Research, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation
Researchers from the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) located in Burnaby, BC have been using the Helios scanning electron microscope at UBC to support automotive fuel cell research. Availability of this state-of-the-art equipment and the knowledgeable staff UBC’s CFI High Throughput Phenogenomics Centre has enabled us to accelerate our level of innovation giving us a competitive edge. As such, AFCC is very satisfied with this new, cutting edge capability at UBC.