Big data sharing will streamline health and genomic research: Professor Bartha Knoppers

December 16, 2015

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Yesterday, at the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) annual public meeting, Professor Bartha Maria Knoppers, Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University, reflected on how technology, such as cloud computing, could be used to create a massive digital library of health and genomic data.

WATCH: Professor Knoppers keynote presentation Part 1

                        Professor Knoppers keynote presentation Part 2

Professor Knoppers says the cloud library would be available to researchers around the world who could use the wealth of data to rapidly map new patterns in the human genome and create novel therapies for genetic diseases. However, Professor Knoppers says issues related to privacy, ethics, research standards and law must first be harmonized among countries before a global genomic library in the cloud can be fully operational.

VIEW: Professor Knoppers’ PowerPoint slides

Professor Knoppers made her remarks shortly after Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research announced a $3.3 million investment in Can-SHARE — a national program led by Professor Knoppers that will promote innovation in how genomic data is used to improve health care for patients in Canada and around the world.

READ: A new way of thinking about genomic data

Professor Knoppers’ presentation followed an opening address by Dr. Kevin Smith, Chair of the CFI’s Board of Directors, who reflected on the progress made by the CFI over the past fiscal year, and another by Dr. Gilles Patry, President and CEO of the CFI, which highlighted the activities and strategic direction of the CFI over the coming year. The meeting was attended by more than 80 people, including elected officials, representatives from research funding organizations, academics, leaders in science policy and the media.