Genome Prairie partners with Saskatchewan Polytechnic to support increased hands-on genomics training capabilities

Image credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

New equipment in the BioScience Applied Research Centre will provide unique research and data analysis opportunities and training in genome sequencing methods and equipment operation.

April 7, 2021 – Saskatchewan Polytechnic has partnered with Genome Prairie to help bring the organization’s Genome360 initiative to Saskatchewan. The Genome360 initiative and its partners, supports adopters by providing the Prairie region access to the latest state-of-the-art equipment, building a genomics community to disseminate knowledge, and working with educators to nurture the skilled workforce needed to meet the demands of this growing field. Genome Prairie is providing support to Saskatchewan Polytechnic from the Genome360 initiative.

This opportunity was made possible with $745,846 in funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program to Genome Prairie’s Genome360 initiative. Genome Prairie acknowledges this significant contribution from Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The main goal with this new partnership will be to increase training capabilities in genome sequencing across multiple programs.  As well, it will bring a new mobile lab to the Saskatchewan Polytechnic BioScience Applied Research Centre (BARC) where its portable equipment, including two next-generation sequencers, allows for advanced teaching and applied research across several programs, such as bioscience technology, medical diagnostics, nursing, agriculture, and natural resource technology.

“We are excited to announce the launch of the Genome360 initiative, which will provide our students an invaluable chance to gain hands-on training with state-of-the-art genome sequencing equipment and we look forward to its use in a variety of applied research projects,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Saskatchewan Polytechnic president and CEO. “As the demand for highly qualified workers within the biotech sector continues to grow, partnering with Genome Prairie on this project ensures our students will join the workforce with the highest-level of training.”

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has been helping to develop the Genome360 project for the Saskatchewan market after it made debut within the province in 2019. The project’s mandate is to aid Western Canadian industries in developing and utilizing genomic technologies and expanding the use of genome sequencing to industries that have not traditionally utilized the technology.

“Genome Prairie is pleased to help bring the Genome360 project to life along with our partner at Saskatchewan Polytechnic and with the support of Western Economic Diversification Canada,” says Mike Cey, Genome Prairie president and CEO. “By democratizing access to genomics and helping to facilitate the training of the next generation of highly qualified personnel we are excited to see the creativity of Saskatchewan people unleashed in advancing the use of genomics. We are limited only by our imagination and our willingness to explore what this emerging field has to offer us.”

Launched in Manitoba in 2018, the Genome360 project’s aim is to develop the skills of local workers in an effort to open access into the field of genomics and other related biotechnologies – which are becoming more widespread as technology advances and the technology becomes more affordable.

Genome Prairie, a non-profit organization with offices in Saskatoon and Winnipeg, is one of six independent Genome Canada regional centres.