Microbiome Insights is pleased to be attending the 4th Women and their Microbes Conference from March 6-7th, 2019, in Hamilton (Canada). The theme will be “Microbiota Management in Pregnancy.” The event organizers are a group that aims to help women obtain the best possible health through microbial management. The conference will be comprised of clinicians and top-level academics discussing their research in lectures, workshops, poster sessions, and more. Speakers to watch for include Dr. Gregor Reid and Dr. Kjersti Aagaard; Reid is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Surgery at Western University (Canada), with extensive experience in probiotic research and the study of microbes in the urogenital tract of women. Aagaard, Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine (USA) leads a team of researchers aiming to discover the genomic mechanisms underlying perinatal health and disease. Stay tuned for our updates from the event!
Competition for funding can be tough—but if you’re applying to a Canadian granting agency to fund a microbiome study, the Microbiome Insights team will be pleased to help. Some granting agencies require you to name an industry partner—and as the leading Canadian industry partner dedicated to microbiome testing and bioinformatic analysis, we are positioned to help your application be as successful as possible.
Here are some frequently asked questions about how we can help with microbiome research grant applications in Canada.
What kinds of testing does Microbiome Insights do?
Microbiome Insights has a full suite of sequencing options—some of which may not be readily available at your own institution. Our services include amplicon sequencing (16S V4, 16S V1-V3, 16S V4_skin, 18S, ITS2 and Archaeal V4-V5), shotgun metagenomics, and bacterial whole genome sequencing; in addition to sequencing we run short-chain fatty acid analyses and calprotectin testing. If these are relevant to your research, please contact us for more information on pricing, turnaround time, and support. Feel free to include our details in your grant application to show you’ve got everything lined up and ready to go for your research.
How flexible are the services?
While an end-to-end service is appealing to some, it doesn’t suit everyone. We can provide the full end-to-end service if needed or we can provide only the parts that make sense to you: for example, if you’re interested in learning more about bioinformatics yourself, you can obtain raw data from our team and explore the data on your own. Under this model, you’ll be able to leverage our wet lab standards while continuing to grow your own understanding of the microbiome.
Everything we do it price sensitive, so we have the ability charge per sample rather than having you lock into a full plate or a full run.
How can partnering with Microbiome Insights make the grant application stronger?
Including us in your grant applications shows you have strong collaborators and leading expertise on your side, bridging to the knowledge of our team and our co-founders (Drs. Brett Finlay and Bill Mohn). Through us, you’ll be able to secure expertise and support in the areas where you need it, and you’ll be able to access industry standards and proven pipelines. Moreover, you can be assured that all of this is done in Canada, with leading Canadian experts in the field.
What specific assistance can the Microbiome Insights team offer for grant applications?
We’ll consult with you to better understand (and draft, if necessary) the study design. We can give you guidelines on collection and transport to insert into your application, and can provide a mock report of the results if required. Our team members can also be hired to write a detailed results or methods section for your application.
Most importantly, we also offer a letter of support which details your study objectives, our deliverables for services and reporting, along with workflows and pricing. These details are key features of your submission, and we are always able to edit the details as funding is released.
How many Microbiome Insights clients come from academia?
The majority of our clients at present come from academia and publish their results in leading journals. If you choose to partner with us, you’ll have access to the same exceptional team that’s used by well-known researchers worldwide.
Six exceptional individuals have been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2018 — and one of them is Microbiome Insights’ co-founder Dr. B. Brett Finlay, University of British Columbia Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Medicine, and Peter Wall Distinguished Professor at the Michael Smith Laboratories.
The honour recognizes contributions to medicine and the health sciences that have had an extraordinary impact on human health.
Dr. Finlay is a microbiome knowledge leader whose work has explored the role of microorganisms in human health and disease — in particular, asthma and malnutrition. His discoveries have led to the development of several human and animal vaccines, and to treatments for drug-resistant infections like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). (See Finlay’s full biography here.)
Below, we share a conversation with this esteemed member of our team — covering his career accomplishments and what he sees as the future of medicine.
Over the years, you must have overcome many challenges. What has driven you to do the things you’ve done in science and medicine?
I have always loved science, and the idea of using science to improve the world, including peoples’ lives, has always been a driving factor for me. Of course there are challenges, but as scientists we have the privilege to explore an exciting frontier, and find things never found before. Of course there are challenges, but all things worth doing have them, and being able to do science that has the potential to change the world is the greatest gift a scientist can have.
In your long and broad-ranging career, what medicine-related accomplishment or recognition are you most proud of?
The neat thing about science is you never know where it will take you. We are fortunate to have many successes. Some of the highlights include developing a vaccine to E. coli O157, developing the first SARS vaccine, and showing the early life microbiome plays a role in determining asthma are but a few. I am also proud of the book I co-wrote, Let Them Eat Dirt, and the new one I am finishing, The Whole Body Microbiome: Healthy aging with your microbes. This has allowed us to share the wonder and excitement of the microbiome with so many people. It is also changing how they look after their children with healthy benefits, which excites me tremendously, being able to promote child health through science education.
How do you think medicine is changing now?
I am biased, but I think medicine is about to undergo a profound change. Genomics, personalized medicine, and the microbiome will all play a major role in this upheaval. The ability to sequence a person’s genome or microbiome, to do a metabolomic analysis of a person’s urine, or a proteomic analysis of they blood all provide wonderful new tools to really figure out what is going on in a person, and then hopefully be able to treat based on molecular knowledge. The development of Crispr-Cas 9 could easily revolutionize gene therapy as well.
What innovations or directions in medicine do you see as uniquely Canadian?
Canada hits above its weight in science [but] science is global, and builds upon the shoulders of others, so to claim a geographic specialty is difficult. Canadian scientists are involved in many of the groundbreaking findings worldwide.
How do you hope your own work will lay the foundation for a different kind of medicine in future?
I strongly believe the microbiome will radically change medicine. If you take the top 10 reasons Canadians die, 9 of those 10 now have microbial links. Similarly, we know the microbiome plays a profound role in how our body develops early in life. There are so many areas of medicine the microbiome is impacting, the inside joke is “what area isn’t affected”! The other advantage of the microbiome is that we can change it easily, unlike our own genes. This means its application should be easier than gene therapy or developing drugs — drugging the “bugs” will be a whole new area of pharmacy in the future.
The 2018 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) induction ceremony was held on April 12, 2018, in London, Ontario (Canada). See the CMHF video of Dr. Finlay here.
MAY 30, 2015 — Microbiome Insights, Inc. is pleased to announce the members of its inaugural Board of Directors (BOD). The members bring with them a wealth of knowledge from the global life sciences industry. Each one has achieved success in academic and/or industry roles and has contributed to groundbreaking advancements in their respective disciplines.
The members are:
Pieter Cullis, PhD, Director at the Life Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia.
Dr. Pieter Cullis brings decades of experience in research and business. He is, along with his colleagues in academia, responsible for many fundamental advances in the field of lipid nanoparticle systems for intravenous delivery of small molecule and macromolecular drugs. This work has led to three products which have been approved by regulatory agencies in the US and Europe, and a further five that have finished Phase 1 trials. Outside of his academic achievements, Dr. Cullis co-founded several biotech companies and has received many distinguished awards, including election to the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.
Brad Popovich, PhD, former Chief Scientific Officer at Genome BC
Dr. Brad Popovich has long been involved with Genome BC, serving on its Board of Directors from 2006-2011 and acting as the Chair for the Scientific Committee from 2008-2010. Alongside his current roles with Genome BC he serves as Chairman for the Genetic Information Management Systems and Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development Ventures and Centre for Drug Development. His genetics expertise is in genetic counselling; he graduated with Masters degrees in genetic counselling and biochemical genetics, and was awarded a PhD in molecular genetics from McGill University. He also received postdoctoral training and a clinical fellowship in the lab of Nobel Laureate Oliver Smithies. Throughout his career, Dr. Popvich has held many titles as Director, Vice-President, and CEO of numerous companies and academic institutions—including founder and director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Oregon Health Sciences University and founding member of the Oregon DNA Forensic Experts Panel.
Mike Fannon, Founder and CEO of BioIT Solutions.
Mike Fannon currently advises new biotechnology firms in the areas of information technology and customer relationship management, business strategy, and laboratory automation. He is CEO of BioIT solutions, a leading company specializing in advanced computational, workflow, and data-management systems for clinical diagnostics, drug development, and biotechnology research. He was the chief architect of BioIT’s innovative 1Platform4 software and was the former Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Human Genome Sciences, where he and his team developed computerized solutions to manage Human Genome Sciences’ R&D functions, high-volume labs, product development, and clinical trials. Mr. Fannon holds an MBA in Operations Analysis from American University and a Bachelors degree in Physics from Rollins College.
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