Dr. Paul Boutros

Investigator II

Today, most cancer patients are treated based on physical characteristics of their tumour — usually how large it is and how far it has spread. Dr. Paul Boutros’ team uses biological big data to create new biomarkers that personalize therapy for individual patients. For example, the team develops new algorithms to identify prostate cancer patients whose disease is aggressive and requires clinical intervention. These algorithms are implemented in open-source software and the team works with clinical partners around the world to validate their novel computational techniques and to move new diagnostic tests toward clinical practice.

Current affiliations

  • Investigator II, OICR;
  • Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto;
  • Associate Professor, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto;
  • Co-Lead, Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network (CPC-GENE);
  • Lead, ICGC-TCGA DREAM Somatic Mutation Calling Challenge;

Research interests

  • Cancer genomics;
  • Computational biology;
  • Prostate cancer;
  • Crowd-sourcing;
  • Big data;
  • Benchmarking;
  • Biomarkers;
  • Precision medicine.

Select publications

Fraser M, Sabelnykova VY, Yamaguchi TN, Heisler LE, Livingstone J, Huang V, Shiah YJ, Yousif F, Lin X, Masella AP, Fox NS, Xie M, Prokopec SD, Berlin A, Lalonde E, Ahmed M, Trudel D, Luo X, Beck TA, Meng A, Zhang J, D’Costa A, Denroche RE, Kong H, Espiritu SM, Chua M, Wong A, Chong T, Sam M, Johns J, Timms L, Buchner NB, Orain M, Picard V, Hovington H, Murison A, Kron K, Harding NJ, P’ng C, Houlahan KE, Chu KC, Lo B, Nguyen F, Li CH, Sun RX, de Borja R, Cooper CI, Hopkins JF, Govind SK, Fung C, Waggott D, Green J, Haider S, Chan-Seng-Yue MA, Jung E, Wang Z, Bergeron A, Dal Pra A, Lacombe L, Collins CC, Sahinalp C, Lupien M, Fleshner NE, He HH, Fradet Y, Tetu B, van der Kwast T, McPherson JD, Bristow RG*, Boutros PC*
Epigenomic and Genomic Correlates of Aggression in Curable Prostate Cancer
Nature 2016 (in press)

Boutros PC*, Fraser M, Harding NJ, de Borja R, Trudel D, Lalonde E, Meng A, Hennings-Yeomans PH, McPherson A, Sabelnykova VY, Zia A, Fox NS, Livingstone J, Shiah YJ, Wang J, Beck TA, Have CL, Chong T, Sam M, Johns J, Timms L, Buchner N, Wong A, Watson JD, Simmons TT, P’ng C, Zafarana G, Nguyen F, Luo X, Chu KC, Prokopec SD, Sykes J, Dal Pra A, Berlin A, Brown A, Chan-Seng-Yue MA, Yousif F, Denroche RE, Chong LC, Chen GM, Jung E, Fung C, Starmans MH, Chen H, Govind SK, Hawley J, D’Costa A, Pintilie M, Waggott D, Hach F, Lambin P, Muthuswamy LB, Cooper C, Eeles R, Neal D, Tetu B, Sahinalp C, Stein LD, Fleshner N, Shah SP, Collins CC, Hudson TJ, McPherson JD, van der Kwast T, Bristow RG*
Spatial genomic heterogeneity within localized, multifocal prostate cancer.
Nature Genetics 2015 (PMID: 26005866)

Ewing AD, Houlahan KE, Hu Y, Ellrott K, Caloian C, Yamaguchi TN, Bare JC, P’ng C, Waggott D, Sabelnykova VY; ICGC-TCGA DREAM Somatic Mutation Calling Challenge participants, Kellen MR, Norman TC, Haussler D, Friend SH, Stolovitzky G, Margolin AA*, Stuart JM*, Boutros PC*
Combining tumor genome simulation with crowdsourcing to benchmark somatic single-nucleotide-variant detection
Nature Methods 2015 (PMID: 25984700)

Lalonde E, Ishkanian AS, Sykes J, Fraser M, Ross-Adams H, Erho N, Dunning MJ, Halim S, Lamb AD, Moon NC, Zafarana G, Warren AY, Meng X, Thoms J, Grzadkowski MR, Berlin A, Have CL, Ramnarine VR, Yao CQ, Malloff CA, Lam LL, Xie H, Harding NJ, Mak DY, Chu KC, Chong LC, Sendorek DH, P’ng C, Collins CC, Squire JA, Jurisica I, Cooper C, Eeles R, Pintilie M, Dal Pra A, Davicioni E, Lam WL, Milosevic M, Neal DE, van der Kwast T, Boutros PC*, Bristow RG*
Tumour genomic and microenvironmental heterogeneity for integrated prediction of 5-year biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer: a retrospective cohort study
Lancet Oncology 2014 (PMID: 25456371)

Chong LC, Albuquerque MA, Harding NJ, Caloian C, Chan-Seng-Yue M, de Borja R, Fraser M, Denroche RE, Beck TA, van der Kwast T, Bristow RG, McPherson JD, Boutros PC*
SeqControl: process control for DNA sequencing
Nature Methods 2014 (PMID: 25173705)



All Boutros Lab software is freely available at:

Recent tools include:
S22S: reference-free somatic mutation calling

HPCI: a framework for parallel computing in perl


2016 University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Early Career Graduate Teaching Award;
2016 University of Waterloo, Young Alumni Award;
2015 CIHR New Investigator Award;
2014 Prostate Cancer Canada Rising Star;
2014 Terry Fox Research Institute New Investigator Award.

Previous experience and education

  • Associate Professor, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto;
  • Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Toronto;
  • Investigator I, OICR;
  • PhD, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto;
  • Fellow, Informatics and Bio-computing, OICR;
  • B.Sc., Chemistry, Honours Co-operative Education, University of Waterloo;
  • Bioinformatics Researcher, Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto;
  • Bioinformatics Researcher, Department of Biochemistry, Michigan State University.

Opportunities to collaborate

The Boutros lab welcomes collaboration with researchers around the world. Contact us to find out more.

Related links

Boutros Lab

Twitter: @TheBoutrosLab