Genomics Blog

September 4, 2012 9:00 AM
Tackling Tailings Ponds - the iGEM Way
This is a guest post written by Iain George and other members of the University of Calgary iGEM team. They will be contributing more posts to our blog pages between now and the final competition in November 2012.

We are iGEM Calgary, a team of twenty-seven undergraduate students at the University of Calgary, working on building new biological systems to help cleanup and recover more energy from the oil sands.

iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is an annual research competition between undergraduate research teams from all over the world. Ten years ago a group of students at MIT began piecing together bacterial genes into Lego-like standardized parts and competing amongst each other to design and build bacteria that could do something new, different, and mildly synthetic.

In the iGEM competition, teams of students solve everyday problems by harnessing synthetic biology to implement their solutions. Synthetic biology brings together biology and engineering with the aim of developing new tools and standardizing the process of building these tools within biology. Through this method, we gather genetic building blocks from nature and assemble them to benefit people.
December 11, 2015 2:24 PM
LISTEN: Student Lightning Competition focuses on bioconversion science and technology
The 6th Annual BCN - AI Bio Conference  took place in Edmonton in November. The event brings together representatives from industry, government, and academia every year to discuss ways to develop and commercialize biomass conversion technologies. It is a high powered collection of people and ideas so it is fitting that students are invited to take part because not only do they bring new ideas to the meeting, they will inherit the consequences of today's technological decisions.
July 6, 2015 10:58 AM
Applied Genomics in Energy workshop presentations available
In preparation for the 2015 Genome Canada LSARP competition, we recently held a workshop on Applied genomics in energy. The workshop, organized by Genome Alberta, Genome BC and the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), brought together key end users and partners for potential research projects, showcased opportunities for collaboration, and solicited interest in the 2015 LSARP initiative. There were presentations by Cindy Bell, Executive Vice-President of Genome Canada, and Andrew Stephens, former Energy Executive and currently Genome Alberta Board Chair. The keynote presentation was by Dan Wicklum, CEO of COSIA, who talked about collaboration and innovation in the oil sands.
May 12, 2015 2:15 PM
You are Invited: Applied Genomics in Energy Workshop
Genome Canada is launching a national research funding initiative called ‘The 2015 Large Scale Applied Research Program: Natural Resources and the Environment: Sector Challenges – Genomic Solutions’ (2015 LSARP). The funding will be aimed at research and development projects that will develop genomics solutions for issues facing the oil and gas industry.
Examples of potential projects areas include microbial influenced corrosion, tailings remediation, and extraction processes. On June  23rd there will be a national workshop in Calgary to bring together key end users and partners for potential research projects; inform participants about opportunities for collaboration; and solicit interest in the 2015 LSARP initiative.
October 1, 2013 7:36 AM
Quick Guides to Strategies for Genomics in Industry
In partnership with Genome Canada and the rest of Canada's Genome Centres, Genome Alberta has been looking for strategic approaches for incorporating genomics into various industry sectors.
To give you a quick overview we have 4 documents that will help get you started:
If you would like more information please contact Genome Alberta's Chief Scientific Officer Gijs van Rooijen at
August 15, 2013 11:35 AM
Genomics Sector Strategies
Genomics can be harnessed in a number of ways by Canada's agriculture, energy, mining, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and health industries. There is always new research coming through the system but there are many established technologies already being used, many in early stage development, and more warming up in the laboratory.

For instance here in Alberta a costly issue in the energy sector is corrosion caused by microorganisms that have been identified as key players that accelerate the weakening of the pipe metal. Genomics were used to determine the metabolism of these organisms, and it was found that a common part of injection waters encouraged their growth and therefore enhanced corrosion. These findings resulted in changes in pipeline operations in several projects in Alberta.  

To look at how genomics can be used to solve such problems Canada's Genome Centres ( often referred to as the Genomics Enterprise ) got together to develop a series of strategies to bring the power of genomics to industry. One of the first results is a series of papers funded by Genome Canada and co-led by the Genome Centres. The papers cover Agri-Food, Energy and Mining, Fisheries and Aquaculture and Forestry. Each strategy was developed in consultation with sector stakeholders and maps out challenges that are faced in ‘real world’ industry settings, and suggests how genomics-based solutions can address these issues.

Genome Alberta worked hard to be an active voice in all of its relevant sectors. With the Ontario Genomics Institute, we championed the writing of the Energy and Mining sector strategy. This involved key industry players such as the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, Suncor Energy, the Energy Resources Conservation Board and others as part of a steering committee to guide the initial direction of the strategy. We then brought together over 60 industry professionals to refine the document to ensure a comprehensive perspective. Though this was our main focus given Alberta’s prominence in the energy industry, we also participated in the Agri-Food steering committee and in the National Forestry Sector Genomics Strategy Workshop.

You can download the full papers to see how genomics can help Canadian industry grow and become more productive, be more competitive internationally, and find solutions to environmental problems.
To find out more about the sector strategies or about how genomics can be applied to your industry please contact Genome Alberta's Chief Scientific Officer Gijs van Rooijen.

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