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New genomics funding to meet environmental challenges

July 29, 2021
Calgary, Alberta
 
$6.4 million investment to manage the spread of Mountain Pine Beetle
$6.3 million to study treatment of oil sands affected wastewater in northern environments
Genomic technologies hold innovative solutions to a range of challenges, and new funding through Genome Alberta and Genome Canada will bring genomics to bear on important issues facing us today. The 2 Alberta-led projects were among the 8 projects selected under the Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomic Solutions for Natural Resources and the Environment. There will be 75 new full time equivalent jobs created in Alberta over the life of the projects.
 
Risk assessment and forest resilience using genomic tools for the mountain pine beetle outbreak
The current mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic has killed approximately 20 million hectares of mainly lodgepole pine forests in British Columbia and Alberta. Enhancing lodgepole pine resistance to the MPB and improving risk assessment tools for industry and government decision makers are key aspects of the project. TRIA-FoR as the project is called, will be led by Janice Cooke at the University of Alberta and Catherine Cullingham at Carleton University.
Genome Alberta is pleased to work with Ontario Genomics on the project and welcomes the funding support from Genome Canada and Natural Resources Canada. For more information on the TRIA-FoR project visit the Genome Canada website.

Nature-based wetland treatment systems for remediation of processed water in northern environments
Constructed wetland treatment systems are a cost-effective method to clean-up industrial wastewaters. In the Athabasca region of northern Alberta, these nature-based, passive systems can be used to treat oil sands process-affected water. This newly funded project will apply genomics-based methods to enhance and study these systems to ensure the most efficient operation under the short summer and cold winter conditions of the region. The project is led by Douglas Muench from the University of Calgary and Christine Martineau from Natural Resources Canada.
Genome Alberta is pleased to work with Genome Quebec on the project and welcomes the funding support from Genome Canada and Natural Resources Canada. For more information on wetland treatment systems for remediation of processed water in northern environments visit the Genome Canada website.

Quotes:

“Mountain pine beetle has killed millions of hectares of pine forests in British Columbia and Alberta. There is a risk that this voracious forest pest will continue spreading eastward into the boreal forest beyond Alberta’s borders. TRIA-FoR researchers will build on a strong foundation of research conducted over the past several years to better understand factors that can reduce mountain pine beetle risk during this current epidemic and promote resilience to future epidemics.”
           -  Janice Cooke, TRIA-FoR: Transformative Risk Assessment and Forest Resilience Using Genomic Tools for the Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak
 
"The TRIA-FoR project will use genomics-informed knowledge to reduce management uncertainties and increase the resiliency of Canadian pine forests to the damage caused by the mountain pine beetle. This critical and timely work will benefit all Canadians by helping to protect forests facing increasing threats from pests and climate change. "
         -   Catherine Cullingham, TRIA-FoR: Transformative Risk Assessment and Forest Resilience Using Genomic Tools for the Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak

“Our research team will apply genomics-based approaches to enhance our understanding of the roles of microbes and plants in constructed wetland systems toward the effective treatment of industrial wastewaters. The project outcomes will be particularly timely for application in the oil sands mining industry, where operators are focussed on developing cost-effective and efficient solutions for the treatment of process-affected water to assist in landscape reclamation.”
          -Doug Muench, Application of Genomics to Enhance Wetland Treatment Systems for Remediation of Processed Water in Northern Environments

“Genome Canada funding will provide our team with an amazing opportunity to harness the potential of genomics as a tool to improve, predict, and monitor the performance of biologically-driven remediation processes. This will be done by bringing together experts in the field of genomics, microbiology, plant biology, analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, modeling, and social sciences.”
          -Christine Martineau, Application of Genomics to Enhance Wetland Treatment Systems for Remediation of Processed Water in Northern Environments
 
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Mike Spear
Genome Alberta, Director of Corporate Communications
cell: 403-813-5843
mspear@GenomeAlberta.ca

About Genome Alberta
Genome Alberta is a publicly funded not-for profit corporation which invests primarily in large-scale genome sciences research projects and technology platforms focused on areas of strategic importance to the province (human health, forestry, plant and animal agriculture, energy, and environment). By working collaboratively with all levels of government, universities, and industry, Genome Alberta is a catalyst for a strong life sciences sector with social and economic benefits for Alberta and for Canada. We are the only provincial organization focused 100% on genomic-related tools and technology.

New genomics funding to meet environmental challenges

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