Epigenomic Platform Program
Through its Epigenomic Platform Centre program, the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC) is leveraging Canada's extensive existing genomic sequencing infrastructure to develop dedicated epigenetic research capacity focused on human health and disease. CEEHRC is supporting two Epigenomic Mapping Centres (EMCs) and two Epigenomic Data Coordination Centres (EDCCs), for a total investment of $15M over 5 years.
The CEEHRC-funded EMCs are the Centre for Epigenomic Mapping Technologies (CEMT), led by Drs Marco Marra and Martin Hirst, at the University of British Columbia/BC Cancer Agency, and the Multidimensional Epigenomics Mapping Centre at McGill (MEMCM), led by Drs Mark Lathrop and Tomi Pastinen, at McGill University. The funded EDCCs are led by Dr Steven Jones at Simon Fraser University/BC Cancer Agency and Drs Guillaume Bourque and Alan Evans at McGill University.
As a major component of Canada's contribution to IHEC, the EMCs are focusing their activities on the systematic high-resolution mapping of human epigenomic marks in appropriate cell/tissue types available in sufficient quantity and with acceptable quality. The CEMT group (Marra/Hirst) is focusing on a number of cancer and stem cell types, including studies on peripheral and lymphoid B-cells, T-lymphocytes, primitive hematopoietic cells, patient derived iPSCs, as well as thyroid cells and mammary, endometrial, fallopian and colonic epithelium. The MEMCM group (Lathrop/Pastinen) has three initial focus areas: autoimmune and inflammatory disease (using various blood cell types), cardio-metabolic disease (including cardiac and skeletal muscle, liver, adipose tissue and pancreatic islets) and neuropsychiatric disease (including targeted brain areas in post-mortem suicide human tissue and animal models of HPA axis dysfunction). In addition, MEMCM specifically addresses population variation in epigenomes within these focus areas.
The EMCs together expect to provide 200 reference epigenomes, complete to IHEC standards, over the next 5 years.