Professor Nick Provart is awarded Genome Canada Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Grant

Congratulations to Professor Nick Provart for his successful Genome Canada Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition grant. Nick's grant was one of only eight proposals to Ontario researchers funded this round.

ePlants Pipeline and Navigator for Accessing and Integrating Multi-Level ‘Omics Data for 15 Agronomically Important Species for Hypothesis Generation
Project leader: Nicholas Provart, University of Toronto
Lead Genome Centre: Ontario Genomics
Total funding: $250,000

In the past five years alone, huge amounts of data have been generated for 15 plant species important for Canada, including poplar, maize, rice, barley, wheat, soybeans and tomatoes. Being able to efficiently use these data will be key to improving and managing these crops to feed, shelter and power a world of 9 billion people by the year 2050.

The ePlant Framework, developed under a previous Genome Canada grant, permits researchers to easily see where and when a gene is “active” and whether there are natural genetic variants that might allow it to do its “job” better; populated only with one species, it now needs data from more species. Lead researcher Dr. Nicholas Provart (University of Toronto) plans to develop an ePlant Pipeline to facilitate the ability to create any ePlant, based on genomic or exome sequence data. The ePlant Navigator will permit cross-cultivar and cross-species comparisons, supporting robust hypothesis generation. Easy access to these data sets will enable researchers to explore genetic diversity, gene expression, and other data for important genes towards crop improvement.

Alan Moses awarded a Canada Research Chair in Computational Biology

Congratulations go out to Alan Moses who has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Computational Biology. This is one of 34 new CRCs awarded by the University of Toronto this year.

CSB Leads an African-Canadian Meeting to Address the Growing Problem of Coconut Disease in the Ivory Coast and Associated Gender Equity Issues

CSB faculty Keiko Yoshioka, along with co-organizers Shiho Satsuka (U of T Anthropology) and Yaima Arocha Rosete (Sporometrics), held a week-long African-Canadian Collaborative meeting & training workshop to bring together plant pathologists and other researchers to work on techniques for identifying and preventing a blight that has devastated coconut crops in the Ivory Coast. The ongoing project, funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and the International Development Research Centre, has previously provided training in disease detection for researchers from the Ivory Coast’s National Centre for Agronomy Research and University of Nangui Abrogoua. The recent session offered more advanced training focusing on techniques available using new equipment funded by the grant.

The meeting included a two day hands-on workshop led by Dr. Pauline Wang of the Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution & Function (CAGEF) to instruct participants in genomic methods for the detection and identification of plant pathogens.

A gender workshop was held on the last day. Gender equity is an important issue for coconut farmers in the Ivory Coast since many of the farmers are women, so failed crops can have devastating consequences for them.  One of the goals of the initiative is to empower women and improve the livelihood of these farmers.



Congratulations to CSB Faculty for their CIHR Awards

Congratulations to CSB faculty: Tony Harris and John Peever for their successful CIHR Transitional Operating Grants!

Congratulations to CSB Faculty for their NSERC Awards

Congratulations to CSB faculty: Thomas Berleth, Les Buck, Dinesh Christendat, David Lovejoy, Jennifer Mitchell, Peter McCourt, Sergey Plotnikov, Maurice Ringuette, and Melanie Woodin for their successful NSERC Discovery Grants. Special congratulations to Les Buck for receiving an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Award.

CSB Senior Lecturer Melody Neumann receives the Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award!

Congratulations to CSB Senior Lecturer Melody Neumann who is a recipient of this year’s Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Awards. Dr. Neumann is an exceptional biology teacher that has made outstanding contributions to teaching innovation and course design. These innovations are best exemplified by the online learning tools she has developed, the inverted classroom she created and implemented, and the capstone team-based learning course she designed and taught. Dr. Neumann received her award from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, Dr. David Cameron, at an awards ceremony on May 11th, 2015.

Congratulations to Nick Provart and John Peever on their promotions to Full Professor!

The Department of Cell & Systems Biology is very happy to announce that Drs. Nicholas Provart and John Peever have been promoted to Full Professor. Congratulations on an important and well-deserved recognition.

Prof. Vince Tropepe appointed as new CSB Departmental Chair

Congratulations to Prof. Vince Tropepe on his appointment as CSB Departmental Chair for a five year term.

Congratulations to Prof. John Peever for great public interest on his work on how much sleep we really need.

Congratulations to Prof. John Peever who represented the University of Toronto and the American Physiological Society on an international panel of experts appointed to determine how much sleep people of all ages need.  The study and recommendations are available here.

The current edition of the U of T Bulletin has a very nice article about John's work.

As the article points out, the study received great coverage in the popular press:

The study received international attention. Recently the subject of David Letterman’s Top 10 list, it also picked up coverage on the Today Show, NBC News, TIME and The Daily Mail.


Congratulations to Prof. Jennifer Mitchell for great public interest in her new Genes & Development paper

Congratulations to Prof. Jennifer Mitchell on her recent Genes & Development paper:

A Sox2 distal enhancer cluster regulates embryonic stem cell differentiation potential

Harry Y. Zhou, Yulia Katsman, Navroop K. Dhaliwal, Scott Davidson, Neil N. Macpherson, Moorthy Sakthidevi, Felicia Collura and Jennifer A. Mitchell

Genes & Dev. 2014. 28: 2699-2711


Press Coverage: