Dr. Philip Awadalla

Director, Computational Biology

Philip Awadalla, PhD, is the 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 Executive Scientific Director of the Ontario Health Study (OHS). He is also the Director of the Genome Canada Canadian Data Integration Centre (Genome-CDIC) and National Scientific Director of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP).

Awadalla and his team focus on the development of genomics approaches, model-based tools and population-based approaches to study mutation rates, genome biology and cancer. His team’s research has enabled the development of tools to capture rare or de novo variants and pathways, critical to cancer disease phenotypes and response to therapies. 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. He leads Canada’s largest longitudinal population cohorts to develop precision medicine research and understand the genetic and environmental contributors to disease development.

Current affiliations

  • Director, Computational Biology, OICR;
  • Senior Investigator, OICR;
  • Executive Scientific Director, Ontario Health Study;
  • National Scientific Director, Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project;
  • Principal Investigator and Director, Genome Canada Canadian Data Integration Centre;
  • Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto;
  • Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto;
  • Adjunct Professor, CHUM, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal.

Research interests

  • Genomics;
  • Early Cancer Detection;
  • Quantitative and population genetics;
  • Precision medicine;
  • Cancer diagnostic markers development
  • Big data.

Select publications

Ang Houle A, Gibling H, Lamaze FC, Edgington HA, Soave D, Fave MJ, Agbessi M, Bruat V, Stein LD, Awadalla P.
Aberrant PRDM9 expression impacts the pan-cancer genome landscape.
Genome Res. 2018; In press.

Dummer T, Awadalla P, Boileau C, Craig C, Fortier I, Goel V, Hicks JMT, Jacquemont S, Knoppers BM, Le N, McDonald T, McLaughlin J, Mes-Masson AM, Nuyt AM, Palmer LJ, Parker L, Purdue M, Robson PJ, Spinelli JJ, Thompson D, Vena J, Zawati M, CPTP Regional Cohort Consortium.
The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project: a pan-Canadian platform for research on chronic disease prevention.
CMAJ. 2018;190(23):E710-E717.

Favé M, Lamaze F, Soave D, Hodgkinson A, Gauvin H, Bruat V, Grenier JC, Gbeha E, Skead K, Smargiassi A, Johnson M, Idaghdour Y, Awadalla P.
Gene-by-environment interactions in urban populations modulate risk phenotypes.
Nature Commun. 2018; 9(1):827.

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 Genet. 2015;47(4):400-4.

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.
Science. 2014; 344(6182):413-5.

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 Res. 2013; 23(3):419-30.

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; 42(5):1285-99.

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, and Awadalla P;
on behalf of the 1000 Genomes Project.
Variation in genome-wide mutation rates within and between human families.
Nature Genet. 2011;43(7):712-4.

See Dr. Awadalla’s recent publications on Google Scholar.

Software

  • LDhat;
  • deNovo.

Awards

  • Queens Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine Distinguished Lecturer 2018;
  • Academy of Sciences of South Africa, Distinguished Scholar, 2016
  • 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 Partnership for Tomorrow Project

The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP) is Canada’s largest group of volunteer research participants (population cohort), built to address key questions about what causes cancer and chronic disease. Over 300,000 Canadians aged 30-74 years have joined CPTP. With a rich collection of data and biosamples, CPTP is an invaluable tool for scientists working to answer important questions for Canadians—questions that could not be addressed otherwise. Access to these data and biosamples is controlled by a set of policies, and managed by the CPTP Access Office.

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.

Visit OICR’s Collaborative Research Resources directory for more opportunities to collaborate with OICR researchers.

Contact

Dr. Philip Awadalla
Philip.Awadalla@oicr.on.ca

Cindy Gayle
Executive Assistant
Cindy.Gayle@oicr.on.ca