Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop Series celebrates milestone 50th workshop

Posted: May 30, 2012 In: News Releases

Toronto, Ontario – May 30, 2012. The Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop (CBW) Series’ fiftieth workshop is currently underway in downtown Toronto. The series was the first of its kind in Canada when it was launched in 1999 under the vision of the Canadian Genetics Diseases Network and its Scientific Director, Dr. Michael Hayden from the University of British Columbia. This series has now trained more than 1,600 bioinformatics students from all over the world at workshops held across Canada.

Bioinformatics is a field of research that is growing at a rapid pace due to the explosion of data produced by next-generation genomics research, among other technologies. The bioinformatics tools and resources developed by the computational field are being used by many researchers to visualize, analyze and integrate their data.

“Without well-trained, highly skilled bioinformaticians, the development of more genomics-based personalized medicine for cancer would be impossible,” said Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), one of the workshop’s sponsor organizations. “By training the next generation of bioinformatics researchers, the CBW is helping to ensure that we are able to deliver the most promising research technologies to patients.”

“The CBW was established over a decade ago to address a pressing need for more trained bioinformaticians in Canada,” said Francis Ouellette, Associate Director of Informatics and Bio-computing at OICR and founder and Scientific Coordinator of the CBW series. “That need still exists today, and it is only getting bigger as promising new technologies increase pressure to store and analyze larger amounts of data, and as the field of bioinformatics in general continues to grow.”

The current five-day workshop is being held in downtown Toronto until June 1, 2012. Titled “Bioinformatics for Cancer Genomics”, it is covering the key bioinformatics concepts and tools required to analyze cancer genomic data sets. The 29 participants enrolled in the workshop will acquire hands-on experience in genomic data visualization tools that can assist in analyzing gene expression, genome rearrangement, somatic mutations and copy number variation.

In honour of the fiftieth workshop, a special keynote address will be given by Dr. David Huntsman, Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia on decoding cancers.

Instructors include Dr. John McPherson, Francis Ouellette and Dr. Paul Boutros from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; Dr. Malachi Griffith from The Genome Institute at the Washington University School of Medicine; Dr. Sohrab Shah from the Department of Molecular Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency; Dr. Gary Bader from the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto; and Dr. Anna Lapuk from the Vancouver Prostate Centre.

For more information about the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop Series and a schedule of upcoming workshops, please visit:

CBW is headquartered at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Genetics and Institute of Cancer Research, Genome Canada, MITACS, the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and The Centre for Applied Genomics.


OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, launched by the Government of Ontario in 2005. The annual budget for OICR, its research partners and collaborators exceeds $160 million. This supports more than 1,500 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. It has research hubs in Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Toronto. OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing, from early stage research to Phase III clinical trials. For more information, please visit the website at


Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
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