Latest Projects

EcoToxChip – A toxicogenomics tool for chemical prioritization and environmental management

Chemical contamination of our ecosystems is regarded as one of the planet’s greatest threats. Regulatory agencies and businesses are tasked with managing these chemicals but face significant challenges due to the sheer number of chemicals for which toxicity data are required. In fact, over 100,000 chemicals require evaluation worldwide. It has become increasingly apparent that current risk assessment strategies that rely heavily on animal testing and are prohibitively time-consuming and expensive are not able to address these regulatory mandates. Here we propose to develop, test, validate, and commercialize quantitative PCRbased arrays (EcoToxChips) to address an urgent worldwide need for advanced toxicity testing tools that are accessible, affordable, consistent, and reliable. To facilitate their adoption into standard practices we will produce and leverage social science knowledge, as well as provide a user-friendly bioinformatics portal (EcoToxXplorer.ca) and an end-user vetted technical guidance document.

We anticipate important socioeconomic benefits associated with the adoption of our
deliverables, namely more focused animal testing, improved regulatory decision-making, and cost-efficiencies. For example, with respect to the Government of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, we estimate our work will translate to cost-efficiencies of $27.3M/yr, time savings of 7-fold, and a 90% reduction in the numbers of animals tested. Our proposed work is driven by a diverse set of key end-users (e.g. multiple Canadian and international regulators, businesses), and it builds upon long-standing and highly productive collaborations among individuals and institutions spanning multiple disciplines within academia, government (scientists, regulators), and industry. These relationships will ensure that benefits are realized, and demonstrate that EcoToxChips and EcoToxXplorer.ca can help transform ecological and chemical risk assessment into a process that is significantly more cost-effective, timely, informative, ethical, and predictive.

Quick Facts

  • Project Leader(s):
    • Niladri Basu
      (McGill University)
    • Markus Hecker
      (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Co-Lead Centres:
    • Genome Québec
      (Lead Centre)
    • Genome Prairie
  • Project Value:

    $9.6 Million

  • Funding Partners Contribution:

    $6.3 Million

  • Genome Canada Contribution:

    $3.3 Million

  • Project Status:

    Ongoing (2016-2021)

  • Competition:

    Genome Canada 2014 Large Scale Applied Research Project Competition

Current Projects

2022 - Present

Bison Integrated Genomics (BIG)

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2016-2022

CanCOGeN – Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network

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2021-2024

CPMN – Canadian Prairie Metabolic Network

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2020 - 2022

COV3R – COVID-19 Rapid Regional Response

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2015-2021

CTAG2 – Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics

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2019 to 2023

4DWheat – Diversity, Discovery, Design and Delivery

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2016-2021

EcoToxChip – A toxicogenomics tool for chemical prioritization and environmental management

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2019 - 2023

EVOLVES – Enhancing the Value of Lentil Variation for Ecosystem Survival

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2019 - 2022

FLOWTER – Floating Wetland Treatments to Enhance Remediation

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2016-2022

GENICE II

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2019 - 2023

Genomic ASSETS (Antimicrobial Stewardship Systems from Evidence-based Treatment Strategies) for Livestock

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2016-2022

GENICE: Microbial Genomics for Oil Spill Preparedness in Canada’s Arctic Marine Environment

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2018 - 2021

Improving on-seed survival and performance of legume inoculants using genome shuffling

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