Government Of Canada Strengthens British Columbia Genomics Research

Government of Canada News Release

Victoria, British Columbia – Proteomics research continues to flourish on Vancouver Island, thanks to $663,000 in Western Diversification Program (WDP) funding. The investment was announced today by the Honourable John Duncan, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.

Funding will enable the University of Victoria (UVic) to purchase and operate two pieces of specialized equipment for the UVic-Genome BC Proteomics Centre, the only facility of its kind in Western Canada.

Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins – the enzymes, antibodies and other molecules that make up our cells and tissues. There are an estimated one million different proteins in the human body, and the role of many of them is unknown.

“By investing in the University of Victoria’s Genome BC Proteomics Centre, we are investing in science, technology and innovation, while at the same time creating knowledge-based jobs,” said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “This equipment will help develop preventative and diagnostic medicine, benefiting Canadians living with illnesses, now and into the future.”

The two new instruments, known as mass spectrometers, will be used to provide fast and highly sensitive analysis of biological samples, such as blood, to detect protein biomarkers – which are molecules that indicate the presence of disease, conditions and degenerative changes in the body. Scientists hope that by validating proteins as biomarkers, doctors will eventually be able to identify patients prone to a particular disease before symptoms appear and tailor treatment to the individual.

Other project costs include acquiring supplies and a data storage server, laboratory upgrades to accommodate the new equipment, and hiring a mass spectrometry technician.

“We are very grateful to WDP for this investment in our proteomics research facility,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s Vice-President Research. “The UVic-Genome BC Proteomics Centre now has the highest concentration of mass spectrometers at any Canadian university and one of the highest in North America, making it one of the most advanced centres in the world.”

The UVic-Genome BC Proteomics Centre, located at UVic’s Vancouver Island Technology Park in Victoria, British Columbia, has been providing protein analytical services to academic, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and government laboratories worldwide since 1982. Supported in part by a collaborative relationship between the University of Victoria and Genome British Columbia, the centre is a not-for-profit proteomics facility that operates on a fee-for-service, cost recovery finance model.

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

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Keywords: government, gentics, proteomics, funding

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