The B.C. government has awarded Simon Fraser University (SFU) almost $525,000 through the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) to support early disease detection and action.
The funding will help SFU create the computer software and technical set-up that will allow biomedical researchers to share data with partner institutions in Canada and around the world.
Today’s fast-paced DNA-sequencing technology is helpful to researchers but brings into question how to store massive amounts of data. This new initiative lets researchers at partner institutions quickly share massive sequence databases describing the immune response. Data integration will lead to faster development of vaccines against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and flu; new therapies and drugs for autoimmune diseases, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Type 1 Diabetes; and immune therapies against cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancers.
The iReceptor Data Integration System, led by Dr. Felix Breden and Dr. Jamie Scott, will be managed by SFU and is expected to be operational within the year.
Since April 2015, the Province has invested almost $55 million in public post-secondary institutions to undertake 71 research projects. BCKDF investments are aimed at attracting and retaining world-class research and innovation talent in British Columbia. Projects funded by the BCKDF have the potential to spur technology commercialization, talent development, and job creation.
BCKDF funding is part of the #BCTECH Strategy, a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy. The multi-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services –
“This research clearly positions SFU and B.C. as national leaders in the life sciences technology sector. Sharing data that will lead to faster diagnosis, more vaccinations, and new cancer therapies is exactly the kind of work we want to encourage through the #BCTECH Strategy. Our life sciences sector is harnessing the talent of highly-skilled and creative British Columbians, changing lives around the world from right here in B.C.”
Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education –
“Our government invests tens of millions of dollars in life sciences research in B.C., and the results of these investments are leading to new discoveries and improving health care outcomes for British Columbians. Research at SFU offers students hands-on study opportunities, and helps train a future generation of life sciences researchers in this province.”
Joy Johnson, Simon Fraser University vice-president, research –
“As a result of this investment in iReceptor, we are enabling significant breakthroughs in precision medicine. This initiative builds on SFU’s big data expertise and computing power to network and collaborate in ways that haven’t been possible before.”
- Since 2001, over 1,000 projects have received BCKDF funding awards for a total government investment of over $595 million in research and innovation in British Columbia.
- These investments have generated an additional $1.05 billion in research funding from other sources.
- That’s more than $1.6 billion in funding for research and innovation in British Columbia.
#BCTECH Strategy: http://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/
Simon Fraser University: http://www.sfu.ca/