Job Posting: Sector Innovation Coordinator

Sector Innovation Coordinator

Reporting to the Director, Sector Innovation, the newly created Sector Innovation Coordinator position is responsible for coordinating key aspects of Genome Atlantic’s business development efforts by playing an important connector role in helping to strengthen existing client relationships while supporting the development of new opportunities and partner relationships.

The Sector Innovation Coordinator is actively engaged, across all sectors, to help to find and research new leads and actively support Business Development activities. From coordinating team efforts to managing meeting logistics, participating in meetings and ensuring prompt follow-up — no two days are alike! This position plays an important role in proposal development and managing project timelines and key deliverables. From time to time, the Sector Innovation Coordinator is called upon to attend and represent Genome Atlantic at select conferences, workshops and special events.

Based out of our Halifax office, this opportunity is ideal for a highly organized and genuine team player known for delivering excellence in a fast-paced environment, while pursuing multiple opportunities simultaneously. Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills are essential to succeed in this role. A respectful critical thinker with a great sense of humour will feel right at home on our team!

Key Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree (BSc, Engineering, Business) or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Minimum of 3-5 years of directly relevant work experience, preferably related to science and technology
  • Prior academic research experience and exposure to the Bioscience sector are considered assets
  • Solid project management skills and an unwavering commitment to follow-up and follow-through
  • Sound technical skills including proficiency in MS Office suite
  • Prior business writing and proposal development experience preferred
  • Experience with CRMs would be considered an asset
  • Experience working with government agencies and funding partners would be a plus

How to Apply

Kindly forward your cover letter and resume (as one document) with the heading “Sector Innovation Coordinator” in the subject line of your email to ktweel@genomeatlantic.ca. Please entitle all attachments to include your first and last name. Your cover letter should articulate why you believe you are a fit for this position, key career accomplishments relevant to this opportunity, and how you see yourself contributing to our team dynamic.

Closing date for priority selection is Sunday, July 12th, 2020 however we will continue to accept resumes after this date until the position is filled.
Individual accommodations due to a disability are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, citizenship status, marital status, actual or perceived sexual orientation.
Genome Atlantic is committed to creating an inclusive environment and building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. We value diversity and recognize that experience comes in many forms and skills are transferable. Please view this description as a general overview, but not a mandatory comprehensive list. If you feel passionate about our efforts and believe that you have the skills to contribute and lead in this role, apply!

We thank all interested parties; however, only those applicants under consideration will be contacted.

About Genome Atlantic

Genomics is a powerful combination of genetics, biology and computer science. It provides us with the unprecedented ability to better understand all living things, leading to a host of opportunities across a variety of sectors. Genome Atlantic is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission to develop and lead a program of genomics R&D that delivers tangible economic, social and environmental benefits to Atlantic Canada.

We connect ideas and people across public and private sectors to find new uses for genomics, invest in large-scale science and technology to fuel innovation, and translate discoveries into solutions across key sectors of national importance. Key sectors include health, agriculture and agri-food, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, the environment, energy, and mining. Together with our many partners, we have enabled over $120 million in strategic R&D since our inception in 2000.

Regional genomics projects get funding for COVID-19

Halifax, NS – Two teams of Dalhousie University scientists are receiving more than $300,000 in funding for genomics research into critical areas in the battle against COVID-19.  Drs. David Kelvin and Alyson Kelvin (also IWK Health Centre) are pursuing biomarkers for COVID-19 that could predict disease severity; while Drs. Nikhil Thomas, John Archibald and Morgan Langille will pilot an innovative protocol for large-scale surveillance testing.  Both projects are supported by Genome Atlantic with $250,000 in funding from Genome Canada’s COVID-19 Regional Genomics Initiative, with an additional $60,000 provided by Research Nova Scotia to the Thomas project. This new Genome Canada money augments existing funding to the Kelvin project in their search for biomarkers, including funding from Research Nova Scotia provided earlier this year.

Genomics plays an important role in COVID-19 research, from detecting infections and understanding how the virus mutates, to tracking these mutations and developing vaccines and treatments.  Through the COVID-19 Regional Genomics Initiative, Genome Canada and regional Genome Centres across the country are responding to the urgent need for further research.

Drs. David and Alyson Kelvin are at the forefront of an international effort to find biomarkers associated with mild, severe and critically ill patients.  This funding will enable the expansion of current work to include a set of patient samples collected during the outbreak at Northwood long-term care facility. Collaborators include Drs. Melissa Andrew, Ken Rockwood, Sam Suriel, Lisa Barrett, and Barry Clarke (Dalhousie/Nova Scotia Health Authority); Mark Cameron and Cheryl Cameron (United States); and Jesus Bermejo Martin and Salvador Reno Garcia (Spain). This international team will develop and contribute to rapid and reliable patient assessment tools, protocols and Point of Care Devices which utilize biomarkers identified from their work. These tools could help doctors triage patients and inform treatment protocols in a variety of settings including emergency rooms, hospitals, long-term care facilities and ICUs.

The Chief Medical Officer of Canada has identified an urgent need to ramp up COVID-19 testing capacity to support the re-opening of the economy.  While standard diagnostic testing is primarily used for people who are symptomatic or a close contact of a COVID-positive individual, the model piloted by the Thomas-Archibald-Langille team is a surveillance tool that could quickly identify early trends in transmission in high risk settings like long-term care or in workplaces where physical distancing is impossible such as fishing vessels or food processing facilities. Individuals who test positive would then be sent to hospital for a diagnostic test. This new model represents a simple, quick and relatively cheap way to identify hidden chains of transmission in at-risk populations.  

“Canadian scientists are at the forefront of the global race to fight COVID-19. Genome Atlantic is proud to support local scientists who are helping lead the charge, and we thank our funding partners Genome Canada and Research Nova Scotia for enabling this important research,” says Genome Atlantic President and CEO Dr. Steve Armstrong.

Part 1: On the Trail of COVID-1

Part 2: The Race for a Vaccine

-30-

Genome Atlantic is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission to help Atlantic Canada reap the economic and social benefits of genomics technologies.  Since its inception in 2000, the corporation has worked with a range of private and public-sector partners to enable more than $120 million in new genomics R&D. To learn more, visit www.genomeatlantic.ca

Contact:  Charmaine Gaudet, Director of External Relations, 902-488-7837/cgaudet@genomeatlantic.ca


Genome Canada leads $40 million genomics initiative to address COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, April 23, 2020

New Canadian network will undertake viral and host genome sequencing to improve patient outcomes

Following an announcement in Ottawa by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Genome Canada launched today the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), a newly formed initiative backed by $40 million in federal funding. Led by Genome Canada, in partnership with the six regional Genome Centres, national and provincial public health labs, genome sequencing centres through CGEn, hospitals, universities and the private sector, CanCOGeN will coordinate and scale up existing genomics-based COVID-19 research in Canada and internationally in order to accelerate public impact. This initiative is part of a $1 billion package of measures announced by the Prime Minister today to support new countermeasures to fight the virus.

CanCOGeN will undertake two related genomics projects to help us understand how the virus works, how it is evolving, and why people experience such different health outcomes. CanCOGeN will sequence the genomes of up to 10,000 patients and 150,000 viral samples and will build a bank of “virus to patient” data that will inform decision-making by public health authorities and support the development of therapies and vaccines. Of critical importance, CanCOGeN will establish and manage a framework for cross-Canada safe data sharing, coordination and analysis.

Data will be shared with national and international collaborators to enable additional research, including Canadian vaccine development efforts. This will ultimately help respond to the current COVID-19 emergency as well as build capacity to respond and manage future outbreaks of this virus, or other pandemics. The initiative will be supported by an Advisory Committee to ensure strategic coordination with other Canadian and international COVID-19 health and medical research efforts.

“Genome Canada and the six regional Genome Centres are on a mission to meet the COVID-19 challenge head-on. We will do that by generating accessible and readily usable genomics data to inform public health decisions that impact Canadians,” said Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO of Genome Canada. “A multi-pronged coordinated national approach to harnessing robust genomic solutions and convening partners across sectors and borders will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.”

Canada is a world leader in genomics-based research in the healthcare sector, contributing significantly to the responsible application of biosciences to advance human health. CanCOGeN is an open and collaborative initiative that will allow for the gathering of scientific data required in the short-term and for the development of tools needed in the long-term to better protect Canadians’ health in the face of similar outbreaks in the future.

Quotes

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working closely with Canada’s health experts and researchers, who are some of the most skilled and brightest in the world. We are making sure that Canada remains at the forefront of scientific research to help us make smart and effective decisions on the path to recovery.”

—The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada


“The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians. We are all in this together: Canada is benefiting from the impressive and innovative power of Canadian researchers in our coordinated national approach to fight COVID-19. Together, we are rapidly scaling-up our research capacity to harness genomic sequencing data to inform public health interventions and to advance a vaccine against COVID-19 to protect our population and end the crisis.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry


“Genome Canada and the six regional Genome Centres are on a mission to meet the COVID-19 challenge head-on. We will do that by generating accessible and readily usable genomics data to inform public health decisions that impact Canadians. A multi-pronged coordinated national approach to harnessing robust genomic solutions and convening partners across sectors and borders will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.”

– Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO of Genome Canada

[Genome Canada, in partnership with the six regional Genome Centres, will lead the newly formed Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN).]


“This investment by the Government of Canada will harness the power of world class genomics infrastructure in Canada to explore the genetic architecture of the human genome and to inform our understanding of the variable clinical response to COVID-19, bringing us closer to enabling personalized risk prediction and precision therapeutic strategies.”

– Dr. Naveed Aziz, Chief Administrative & Chief Scientific Officer, CGEn

[CGEn will lead the COVID-19 host genome sequencing initiative, with support from Genome Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Science Initiatives and others, through its nodes in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.]


“The national Viral Genome Sequencing Initiative within the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) is tremendously important in that we are significantly building out our sequencing capacity in real time to rapidly respond to this Canadian and global health crisis. With expertise coming in from researchers, sequencing centers, clinicians, health care facilities and industry across the country, we will be streamlining guidelines, protocols and data quality control towards building a robust Canadian genomics network that strengthens the Canadian response now and for future outbreaks.”

– Dr. Terrance Snutch, Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories and Director, Translational Neuroscience, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia

[Dr. Snutch and his team at UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories will lead the COVID-19 genome sequencing component of the viral genomics initiative and coordinate with leaders and sequencing sites in each province.]


“The Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory welcomes the opportunity that the CanCOGen presents to coordinate large-scale SARS-CoV-2 sequencing efforts, facilitate genomic capacity building more regionally, promote best practices for data management and analysis, and disseminate data, sequencing results, and research outcomes to partners and stakeholders. Studying the genome of the virus and collectively developing tools to analyze the traits of the virus across Canada will provide critical information for our public health response.”

Dr. Matthew Gilmour, Scientific Director General, Public Health Agency of Canada

[The National Microbiology Lab will coordinate the public health laboratories’ response and host the data analytic core for the viral genomics initiative, which will ensure rapid sharing of the sequence data.]


Quick Facts

  • On March 6, 2020, Genome Canada announced participation in a federal investment of $27 million to fund coronavirus research. This commitment was since increased by the Government of Canada to $54.2 million, with 99 COVID-related projects now funded.
  • On March 11, 2020, the federal government announced a $1-billion package to help Canadians cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, which included $275 million for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures, and $50 million to ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment for provinces and territories, as well as to address federal needs.
  • On March 26, 2020, Génome Québec launched COVID-19 – A New Initiative from the Québec Research Sector -the Québec COVID Biobank and Genome British Columbia launched a call for Rapid Response Funding for COVID-19 Projects.
  • On April 2, 2020, Genome Canada launched additional rapid response funding for COVID-19 research in the six regional Genome Centres across the country. That $1.5 million in funding aims to leverage other funding and support genomics-informed solutions to COVID-19 at local, provincial and national levels through collaborations between academia, industry, not-for-profit and public sectors.
  • Since 2000, the Government of Canada has made $1.5 billion in targeted investments for genomics research through Genome Canada.
  • The global genomics market is expected to reach US$27.6 billion in the next six years.

Social Media

Genome Canada news is on social media @GenomeCanada: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

Contact

Nicola Katz
Director, Communications
Genome Canada
Cell: 613-297-0267
nkatz@genomecanada.ca

Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for developing and applying genomics and genomic-based technologies, to create economic and social benefits for Canadians. Genome Canada connects ideas and people across public and private sectors to find new uses for genomics, invests in large-scale science and technology to fuel innovation, and translates discoveries into applications and solutions across key sectors of national importance, including health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries & aquaculture, energy, mining, and the environment.

COVID-19 REGIONAL RAPID RESPONSE PROGRAM FOR ATLANTIC CANADA

Genome Atlantic is inviting proposals for genomics enabled project concepts from Atlantic Canadian stakeholders to address specific, short term needs which will allow the region to better respond to the pandemic. A total envelope of $250,000 in funds is available within Atlantic Canada. Registrations are being accepted until April 10th.

Genome Atlantic remains operational to support our clients, partners & community

Genome Atlantic is closely monitoring the developing situation around COVID-19 and we are taking every step to reduce the risk of transmission while ensuring that we remain fully operational.

Our top priority is the safety of our staff, clients, partners and their families, and therefore, all travel has been cancelled, our employees are working from home, and we are either postponing face-to-face meetings or replacing them with virtual options – in strict compliance with guidelines issued by our federal and provincial governments.

At the same time, we remain fully operational and all members of our team can be reached at any time as per our usual emails and numbers below:  

Steve Armstrong, President & CEO – sarmstrong@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-456-9256 (C)

Nil d’Entremont, Chief Financial Officer – ndentremont@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-430-0020 (C)

Charmaine Gaudet, Director of External Relations – cgaudet@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-488-7837 (C)

Kristin Tweel, Director, Sector Innovation – ktweel@genomeatlantic.ca / 483-8398 (C)

Britta Fiander, Director, Innovation Programs – bfiander@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-802-7281 (C)

Richard Donald, Associate – rdonald@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-220-2300 (C)

Cara Kirkpatrick, Program Officer – ckirkpatrick@dal.ca / 902-957-0030

For general inquiries email info@genomeatlantic.ca.

We thank you for your flexibility and patience and we wish you and your families continuing good health.

Why vegan salmon could be healthier salmon

Could algae replace fish oils and meal to feed farmed fish? In this fascinating video, Dr. Stefanie Colombo talks about the advantages of plant-based proteins as a healthier, more sustainable, more environmentally friendly alternative. The Canada Research Chair in Aquaculture Nutrition at Dalhousie University is using genomics to explore these and other nutrition questions relating to fish health.

Dr. Colombo talks about her partnership with Genome Atlantic.

Code Breakers

A profile by Quentin Casey on Genome Atlantic in the latest issue of Atlantic Business’ Natural Resources Magazine shows how genomics is driving innovation in Atlantic Canada.

Each day, billions of tons of seawater flow through the Bay of Fundy, driven by the bay’s powerful tides. Tracking sea life, particularly swift-moving fish, in that mess of churning water is a challenge, including for tidal power developers who must monitor the environmental impact of their technologies in the bay.

Read More

Request for Applications – 2020 LSARP Competition: Genomic Solutions for Natural Resources and the Environment

Genome Canada, together with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), is seeking proposals for large-scale research projects which focus on the application of genomics in Canada’s natural resources and environment sectors.  To find out more about this competition, click on the links below:

(English) https://www.genomecanada.ca/en/programs/large-scale-science/funding-opportunities/large-scale-research-project-competitions/2020

(French) https://www.genomecanada.ca/fr/programmes/grands-projets-scientifiques/concours-precedents/projets-de-recherche-appliquee-grande-10

For more information, please contact Kristin Tweel at ktweel@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-423-5646 or Britta Fiander at bfiander@genomeatlantic.ca / 902-442-4663.

Young scientist profile: Dr. Zoë Migicovsky

A passion for apples and grapes

Apples and grapes, two of Nova Scotia’s most important crops, are opening research doors at home and in the United States for Dr. Zoë Migicovsky, a bright postdoc geneticist with a self-confessed passion for Nova Scotia.

Genome Atlantic can take some credit for helping to pry those doors open early on. As a doctoral student, she worked with Dr. Sean Myles, Dalhousie’s Research Chair in Agricultural Genetic Diversity and a leading apple breeding expert, on a research project called “Exploiting the Full Potential of the Next Generation DNA Sequencing for Crop Improvement”. It was a Genome Canada project, supported by Genome Atlantic. Dr. Migicovsky also worked with Dr. Daniel Money from the University of Cambridge, and Dr. Kyle Gardner, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, on the project, which produced “two papers and associated software to help researchers get more genetic information out of their sequencing data.”

Now as a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Migicovsky is busy with another of Dr. Myles’s genomics projects, this one funded by National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada with continuing support from Genome Atlantic. The research is part of his ongoing efforts – and hers – to use genomics to accelerate the traditionally painstaking work of apple breeding.

The work centers on more than 1,000 different apple varieties known as the Apple Biodiversity Collection (http://www.cultivatingdiversity.org/) in Kentville. Working with collaborators at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Kentville, she is helping to comprehensively record a diverse array of traits, or phenotypes, across the apple varieties. By linking together this phenotype information with genetic data to perform genetic mapping, she says, the resulting work will “allow breeders to screen seedlings using genetic markers in order to predict if they possess a trait of interest.”

This approach should help reduce the lengthy and costly process of cross-breeding that requires apple trees to be grown from seedlings to confirm the selection of specific traits. The outcome would be known in advance, based on the genomic evidence in the seedlings – the tool kit of genetic markers Dr. Migicovsky is helping to develop. While apple breeders would still have to evaluate the remaining trees, new commercial cultivar development would become both faster and cheaper.

Dr. Migicovsky is especially interested in pinpointing the sources of variations in fruit for characteristics that fuel consumer appetites, such as colour, shape and flavour. This area of investigation relies heavily on bioinformatics and other data analytic techniques to process vast quantities of phenomic and genomic data generated by the research.

Her abilities have been duly noticed. Fresh from doctoral studies, she was tapped to join a $4.6 million, five-year, multi-institutional American research project, funded by National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program 1546869 and led by Dr. Allison Miller (Saint Louis University/Donald Danforth Plant Science Center). The project, “Adapting Perennial Crops for Climate Change: Graft Transmissible Effects of Rootstocks on Grapevine Shoots”, aims to help the U.S. wine industry weather the impacts of climate change with more resilient and adaptable grape vines. She heads a team assigned to assess the status of grafted grapevines planted in three vineyards across a transect of California, while other teams examine experimental vineyards planted in areas of Missouri, South Dakota and New York state.

Ordinarily, she would have been expected to relocate to the U.S for this work. Instead, she chose to maintain Kentville, the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture and the lab of Dr. Sean Myles, one of her doctoral thesis advisors – as home base. She gratefully points out that her American project advisor, Dr. Dan Chitwood, a plant morphologist who uses mathematical models to analyze morphological data from x-ray CT scans at Michigan State University, was among those who championed her cause. As a result, for most of the year she works remotely on the project and she is the only Canadian on the team.

“I love Nova Scotia,” she explains, “and as long as I can do work here, I’d really like to stay in the province.” A native Montrealer, she admits she fell hard for Nova Scotia as an Acadia University undergraduate. The lure was so strong that after graduate studies at the University of Lethbridge, she opted to return to the province for her doctorate.

These days she resides in the Annapolis valley, near Kentville. Outside the lab, she describes herself as a voracious reader with eclectic tastes that range from poetry to thrillers and non-fiction; someone who “loves to write” and enjoys the exploratory side of travel.

On the job, to satisfy the American project, she spends June, July and part of August sampling across three vineyards in the Californian Central Valley. “I work with a team of students to measure traits including physiology, mineral composition, leaf morphology, and gene expression in grafted grapevines,” she said.

The plan, she explains, is to link the data to weather information and learn how the environment, root systems and shoots interact. These are all critical elements in understanding how grapevines respond to the environment around them.

The rest of the time, she is in Kentville analyzing the huge data sets produced by her California team and working on apples.

She is confident that some of the data from the large American project will be transferrable to this province’s wine industry since some of the examined areas have climates relatively similar to Nova Scotia’s.

As fate would have it, the U.S. project focuses on a long-held interest in climate change, a subject she once thought she would be examining through a very different lens. Initially she went to Acadia determined to become an environmental lawyer. That was until a serendipitous biology course got in the way, and so captivated her interest that law school lost its lustre and she set her cap on advanced biology instead.

The switch has proved so inspiring that Dr. Migicovsky now has many fans in the local science and genomics community all watching her career with great interest and hoping that Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada can hang on to her burgeoning talent.