Time for a science word. 'Phylogeny' refers to the evolutionary or developmental history of a genetically related group or species. In the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this mean studying where it came from, how it has evolved and spread, and what that might tell us about how the future of the virus.
Quaid Morris recently received funding through CIFAR’s AI and COVID-19 Catalyst Grants initiative to use artificial intelligence to understand the biology and trajectory of the virus which causes COVID-19. Using artificial intelligence can help build the evolutionary trees (aka the phylogeny) because it can be scaled up to analyze more sequencing data and lower quality data.
leads the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy which led to the creation of Canada's three national AI institutes - Mila
in Montreal, Vector Institute
in Toronto, and Amii
The work Dr. Morris was engaged in prior to the COVID-19 outbreak was transferable to tracking and monitoring of the pandemic and is a good example of the capacity Canada has been building across the life sciences research sector. He talked with freelance broadcaster Don Hill about what machine learning brings to the COVID-19 research effort.