Dr. Philip Awadalla

Director, Computational Biology

Philip Awadalla, PhD, is Director of Computational Biology and Senior Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Professor of Population and Medical Genomics at the University of Toronto and is the National Scientific Director and Principal Investigator of the Ontario Health Study, respectively. He is also the Director of the Genome Canada Canadian Data Integration Centre. Awadalla and his team focus on the development of next-generation genomics approaches, model-based tools and population-based approaches to study mutation rates, genome biology and cancer. His team’s research also focuses on systems and population genomics approaches to capture signals in population-based samples or families as well as tools to capture rare or de novo variants and pathways, potentially critical to disease phenotypes. Awadalla’s main research interests include identifying genomic determinants of blood disorders and cancers, understanding mutation and recombination biology and genomic epidemiology of age-related disorders in population cohorts.

Current affiliations

  • Director, Computational Biology, OICR;
  • Senior Investigator, OICR;
  • Program Director, Ontario Health Study;
  • National Scientific Director, Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project;
  • Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto;
  • Principal Investigator and Director, Genome Canada Canadian Data Integration Centre;
  • Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University;
  • Adjunct Professor, Ste Justine Hospital Research Centre, Department of Pediatrics Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal.

Research interests

  • Genomics;
  • Quantitative genetics;
  • Population cohorts;
  • Precision medicine;
  • Big data.

Select publications

Hussin JG, Hodgkinson A, Idaghdour Y, Grenier JC, Goulet JP, Gbeha E, Hip-Ki E, Awadalla P.
Recombination affects accumulation of damaging and disease-associated mutations in human populations.
Nature Genetics 2015 Apr;47(4):400-4. doi: 10.1038/ng.3216.

Hodgkinson A, Idaghdour Y, Gbeha E, Grenier JC, Hip-Ki E, Bruat V, Goulet JP, de Malliard T, Awadalla P.
High-resolution genomic analysis of human mitochondrial RNA sequence variation.
2014 Apr 25;344(6182):413-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1251110.

Hussin J, Sinnett D, Casals F, Idaghdour Y, Bruat V, Saillour V, Healy J, Grenier JC, de Malliard T, Busche S, Spinella JF, Larivière M, Gibson G, Andersson A, Holmfeldt L, Ma J, Wei L, Zhang J, Andelfinger G, Downing JR, Mullighan CG, Awadalla P.
Rare allelic forms of PRDM9 associated with childhood leukemogenesis.
Genome Research. 2013 Mar;23(3):419-30. doi: 10.1101/gr.144188.112.

Awadalla P, Boileau C, Payette Y, Idaghdour Y, Goulet JP, Knoppers B, Hamet P, Laberge C;
CARTaGENE Project.
Cohort profile of the CARTaGENE study: Quebec’s population-based biobank for public health and personalized genomics.
Int J Epidemiol. 2013 Oct;42(5):1285-99. doi: 10.1093/ije/dys160. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Conrad DF, Keebler JE, DePristo MA, Lindsay SJ, Zhang Y, Casals F, Idaghdour Y, Hartl CL, Torroja C, Garimella KV, Zilversmit M, Cartwright R, Rouleau GA, Daly M, Stone EA, Hurles ME, Awadalla P;
1000 Genomes Project.
Variation in genome-wide mutation rates within and between human families.
Nature Genetics. 2011 Jun 12;43(7):712-4. doi: 10.1038/ng.862.


  • LDhat;
  • deNovo.


  • The Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation Young Investigator Award 2012;
  • Genome Quebec Recruitment Award (2010-2015);
  • FRSQ (2008-2011; 2012-2016);
  • Sigma Xi (2005).

Previous experience

  • Executive Scientific Director and Principal Investigator, CARTaGENE, CHU-Ste Justine;
  • Associate Professor, Ste Justine Hospital Research Centre, Department of Pediatrics Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal;
  • Wellcome Trust International Travelling Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh and University of California Davis;
  • National Science and Engineering Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia;
  • PhD, University of Edinburgh.

Opportunities to collaborate

The Ontario Health Study 

The Ontario Health Study (OHS) is a long-term health study following the health of more than 230,000 Ontarians collecting data through questionnaires, blood samples and physical measurements. The goal is to build a platform that researchers can use now and decades into the future to better understand the causes of cancer and chronic disease.

The Canadian Data Integration Centre

Advances in genomics over the past several years have given rise to enormous amounts of data. Genomic data from population and clinical cohorts, coupled with vast health and lifestyle data can generate important biological insights in human health, but only if that data can be stored and analyzed in new and more sophisticated ways. Indeed, advances in genomics will be made – or hindered – by bioinformatics analytical capacity.

The Canadian Data Integration Centre (CDIC) will offer “soup to nuts” analytical and bioinformatics support to genomic researchers by providing the software and analytic systems to collect and harmonize data, analyze it and electronically publish the results.