Bioinformatic approaches for the interpretation of cancer genomes

The rapidly developing field of genomics is providing increasingly powerful tools to investigate our genetic make-up and provide a fundamental understanding into how cells and organisms function. Previously funded by an MSFHR Scholar award, Dr. Steven Jones’ ongoing research focus is to apply genomic and bioinformatic technologies to cancer research. Next-generation DNA sequencing machines at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre provide the underlying technology platform for Jones to conduct a number of studies that will expand our knowledge about the fundamental mechanisms underlying health and disease. Jones will develop a number of studies around three key themes: • Understanding the genetic changes present in human cancer cells, as compared to the normal human genome, to improve drug screening and testing methods. • Investigating the changes that occur in cells in response to drug treatments to identify ways to improve the efficacy of these drugs. • Using the mouse liver as a model, identifying active regions of the genome in order to further understand the functional elements within our genetic material and how, in concert, they are able to coordinate and maintain the activity of a tissue or organ.