Canada Research Chair in Systems Biology
Tier 2 - 2004-10-01
University of Ottawa
Natural Sciences and Engineering
613-562-5800 ext./poste 8691
Coming to Canada from
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University.
Carrying out experimental characterization and computational analysis of regulatory systems with an emphasis on genetic networks.
The research is leading to the development and implementation of technologies for the study of complex biological systems and phenomena, including human diseases.
Surfing the Genetic Network
Certain rare diseases, such as sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, and Huntington's disease, are associated with a single defective gene. The completion of the human genome project, however, has made it clear that the complexity of human biology and disease far exceeds the capabilities of the monogenic, single-gene single-function paradigm that has dominated much of genomics research in the past. That's because most common diseases (including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer's disease) arise from complex interactions between multiple genes and environmental factors, such as diet and pollutants.
In order to develop novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of multifaceted diseases, we need to understand how interacting genes regulate the function of healthy cells. We also need to be clear about how failures within regulatory networks trigger the onset of disease.
The complexities of gene regulatory networks demand the development of novel systems biology technologies that integrate concepts from physics, engineering, and computer science with traditional branches of medical and biological research. And this is where the work of Canada Research Chair Mads Kaern comes in.
Dr. Kaern's research represents a new generation of genomics research that builds on the successes of earlier genomics projects. He is working on the development and implementation of the technologies that are required to characterize and analyse the complex gene regulatory networks. He believes that the new technologies will transform how medical and biological research is conducted, and that they will facilitate significant advances in key areas of medicine, including stem cell research and studies of multifaceted human diseases.