(December 31, 2010—Toronto, ON) Dr. Frederick Roth, acclaimed for his work in computational biology, comes from the esteemed Harvard Medical School to join the Lunenfeld next month as a Senior Investigator, in addition to a joint affiliation he will share at the University of Toronto’s Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research.
Last May, Dr. Roth was selected as an inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC). His role as a CERC is part of a new program initiated by the Federal Government to attract the world’s most renowned researchers to universities and institutes across Canada.
Building on their work in experimental and computational genomics at Harvard University, Dr. Roth’s team will collaborate with Lunenfeld researchers in the Systems Biology group to develop new technologies for discovering gene functions, the pathways they encode, and how these genes and pathways are related to human diseases. Dr. Roth’s group is harnessing “next generation” DNA sequencing technology to systematically map the effects of multiple genetic changes, and is developing new methods to measure interactions between proteins.
“The Lunenfeld has assembled an impressive cadre of scientists engaged in uncovering fundamental aspects of protein, cell and organismal function,” said Dr. Roth.
“This community’s common vision includes large-scale experimentation on a range of biological model systems, and an appreciation that multidisciplinary efforts offer the most efficient path forward. I’m thrilled to join this team.”
Research led by Dr. Roth has already led to the development of a computational approach for prioritizing candidate disease genes so that researchers can focus efforts on the genes most likely to impact human health. Dr. Roth will bring this computational expertise to the Donnelly Centre and the Lunenfeld, to reveal more about the causes of diseases such as cancer.
“The mutual strengths in systems biology between Lunenfeld investigators and the Donnelly Centre scientists have established these groups at the forefront the world’s leading programs in this fast-moving field,” noted Dr. Jim Woodgett, Lunenfeld Director of Research. “The joint appointment of Fritz further cements the stature of this outstanding team.”
The experimental efforts of Dr. Roth’s team also promise to reveal the effects of mutations on protein and genetic networks in the cell. Dr. Roth’s team will contribute fundamental knowledge about the causes and cures of complex diseases through collaborations with the Lunenfeld’s many world-renowned researchers.
The CERC program was announced in the 2008 federal budget, as part of the government’s science and technology strategy to help build expertise in strategic areas. Research conducted by the chairholders and their teams will focus on the areas of environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences and technologies, and information and communications technologies.