Canadore College has opened its new genomics lab, part of the school’s The Village initiative.

“Genomics is looking at all the individual letters that make up the DNA in every one of our cells,” David Villeneuve, Professor in the Department of Biotechnology and Functional Genomics laboratory coordinator explained.

“It is what makes us who we are, it establishes how our hearts develop, our brains develop, personality, nutrition, our metabolism. We begin to read those letters and see how that affects individuals in humans,” said Villeneuve. “We can use this technology to detect pathogens in food and water supplies. We could do it for analyzing the types of species that are hidden within certain environmental niches. Anything with DNA, all living organisms, we can begin to read their DNA and attribute it to health, disease, disorder, and environment.”

(L-R) Mayor Al Macdonald, Corrie Duchesne, Canadore Lab Technologist; David Villeneuve, Canadore Professor; Dr. Tara McGoey, Canadore Coordinator/Professor; Kashif Khan – CEO The DNA Company; Anthony Rota – Member of Parliament Nipissing-Timiskaming; George Burton – President and CEO Canadore College; Shawn Chorney – Vice-President Canadore College; Frank Suraci – CEO Maple Key Health Group Ltd.

Genomics is just another way that Canadore looks to add more flexibility to the programs it offers. The lab, which was already running through sequences when the unveiling began, will be open for students to use this coming semester and is one of the first for a college in Ontario.

“The Genome Lab was an area that we were looking to invest in and we are fortunate enough to partner with the DNA Company in Toronto who had been doing work already with genomes,” Canadore President George Burton said.

“Through discussions, we made a strategic alliance and we said, ‘let’s create a genome lab in a college,’ which had never been done before. We see this as a great platform as not only for our current programs but launching several new ones.”

The new course, which is being offered in 2020, is a post-graduate certificate in applied genomes and consultation. Burton believes that this time next year, the college will be able to announce some more courses in the field.