Genomics Blog

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.
April 30, 2015 7:12 AM
New addition to Genome Alberta's blogging team
There's a new face in our virtual town -  Lisa Willemse will be writing for us on a regular basis.
Most of her posts will appear in our Livestock blog section but with her broad experience you'll probably see some material appearing in the Genomics section and all of it will be fed through to the Science Borealis site as usual. Our GenOmics News site will also feature re-prints of her contributions.
Lisa Willemse is a communications consultant with 15 years experience working for science-based organizations in technology and health, most recently with Canada’s Stem Cell Network. When I first started here at Genome Alberta she was with the Stem Cell Network and our paths tended to cross at biotech related conferences. A couple of years ago we both attendws a session at the Science Online Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina which helped motivate us both to get involved with the group that was developing the now successful Canadian blogging network, Science Borealis.  She kicked off a Google+ group for Canadian science communication around that time, and is still connected with Science Borealis as a volunteer editor.
She has worked as an editor, journalist and photographer for a number of publications. Among her recent projects is the creation of Super Cells, a travelling science exhibit, and Signals blog, which she founded as a training and communications medium in stem cells and regenerative medicine. Lisa is also interested in fiction writing, art and the great, "gob-smacking outdoors" as she puts it. Follow her on Twitter @WillemseLA
We're looking forward to all of her posts and she is kicking it off with a particularly timely one on gene editing.
April 24, 2015 3:00 PM
LISTEN: No Beetles Allowed
Don't transport firewood between campgrounds

The weather is warming up and many of you will soon be heading out to your favourite camping spot to relax and spend some time sitting around an open fire. That means stocking up on firewood either by purchasing it at the campground or finding a place where you can chop your own.
Before you start moving firewood around from place to place think of what may be hiding in the nooks and crannies of that wood. There could be tiny bugs just waiting for a free ride to a new home and a new supply of food.
University of Alberta Researcher Janice Cooke has this note of caution.
April 23, 2015 2:15 PM
That's a Wrap on another DNA Day in Canada
Tuesday, April 21st was our 5th DNA Day in Canada. We make an extra effort every April to raise awareness about DNA and the impact the science of genetics in having on our world. From giving a better understanding of diseases to how to make certain treatments more effective the science is changing the way medicine is practiced. We use genetic technology in developing new and better crops and it isn't always about genetic modification. Understanding genetics means we can select plant varieties or livestock traits far more efficiently. The study of genetics can take us so many places.
April 22, 2015 10:54 AM
The rude behaviour of the Mountain Pine Beetle
A couple of years ago Janice Cooke and her team were able to use genomics to prove that mountain pine beetles had developed an appetite for Jack pines. The beetles had previously preferred to dine out on the lodgepole pine but with the jump to a new species, the mountain pine beetle has a dinner buffet that goes clear across Canada's forests from the west to the east.

Janice and her TRIA team started out with funding from Genome Alberta and the Government of Alberta, and now has new funding from NSERC to expand the work and study the complete ecology of the epidemic.  They have been able to look at the how the beetle introduces a blue stain fungus into the tree and force it into defence mode. And they have also found why - the subsequent reaction of the tree is a source of nutrition for the beetle. As you'll hear in this podcast from freelance broadcaster Don Hill, that is a very poor and destructive way for beetles to treat Canada's pine trees.