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CanCOGeN Governance

CanCOGeN

The Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) is a Genome-Canada led consortium of Canadian federal, provincial and regional public health authorities and their healthcare partners, academia, industry, hospitals, research institutes and large-scale sequencing centres. The Network has convened to perform large-scale genome sequencing and analysis of Canadian SARS-CoV-2 genomes and host genomes to understand, track, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, both nationally and internationally.

Genome Canada gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada, whose funding supports our mission and is the lead investment in all our research projects, and who provided a funding infusion of $40 million in April 2020 specifically for CanCOGeN.

The following table outlines the robust governance structure currently in place for CanCOGeN. Click on a committee to learn more about it and to see its membership.

Genome Canada and six regional Centres

Genome Canada has ultimate responsibility for the stewardship of CanCOGeN, ensuring the initiative achieves its objectives and milestones. Working with the six regional Genome Centres, Genome Canada ensures that CanCOGeN complies with the terms of the agreement with the federal government and provides information and data which will allow for the on-going assessment of progress, including performance metrics data, as well as financial reports which will form the basis for advancing funds to CanCOGeN. Catalina Lopez-Correa, M.D., Ph.D., of Genome Canada is Executive Director of the CanCOGeN initiative. 

Steering Committee

The CanCOGeN Steering Committee is responsible for the overall management of CanCOGeN and coordination of activities, within and between the viral (VirusSeq) and host (HostSeq) projects, as well as alignment between this and other external initiatives.

Members

Lorne Hepworth, Former President and CEO of CropLife Canada (Chair)

Kenneth Baillie, Consultant and Senior Clinical Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO of Ontario Genomics

Cindy Bell, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development, Genome Canada

Ewan Harrison, Cambridge Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge

Duncan MacCannell, CDC SPHERES, Chief Science Officer, Office of Advanced Molecular Detection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Chris McMaster, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Genetics

Allison McGeer, Infectious Disease Consultant, Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto

Eric Meslin, President and CEO, Council of Canadian Academies

Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Health Officer, PHAC, and Adjunct Faculty Member, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa

Joris Veltman, Dean, Biosciences Institute at Newcastle University

Coordinating Committee

The CanCOGeN Coordinating Committee works across the two Implementation Committees to coordinate genomics and metadata management and sharing. The Committee will also interface with other national and international data efforts.

Membership of the Coordinating Committee is flexible and subject to change on occasion.

Members

Catalina Lopez-Correa, Executive Director, CanCOGeN, Genome Canada (Chair)

Naveed Aziz, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Scientific Officer, CGEn

Cindy Bell, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development, Genome Canada

Fiona Brinkman, Distinguished Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Associate Professor, School of Computing Science, and Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

William Hsiao, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

Yann Joly, Research Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy; Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics and Bioethics Unit, McGill University

Steven Jones, Professor, Associate Director and Head of Bioinformatics, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency; Professor of Medical Genetics, The University of British Columbia; and Professor, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

Sandrine Moreira, Head of Genomics and Bioinformatics, Institut national de santé publique du Québec

Samira Mubareka, Infectious Diseases Physician & Virologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre & Research Institute

Natalie Prystajecky, Environmental Microbiology program at the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory, and Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, The University of British Columbia

Terrance Snutch, Professor, Michael Smiths Laboratories, The University of British Columbia

Lisa Strug, Senior Scientist, Genetics and Genome Biology Program, SickKids; Associate Director, Centre for Applied Genomics; and Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Gary Van Domselaar, Chief, Bioinformatics, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada

Ma’an Zawati, Assistant Professor, Executive Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University

CanCOGeN VirusSeq Implementation Committee

The CanCOGeN VirusSeq Implementation Committee provides key management for the VirusSeq project, ensuring the efficient, effective, ethical and equitable implementation of each project across the country, and reports to the Steering Committee through its Chair.

Members

Terrance Snutch, Professor, Michael Smiths Laboratories, The University of British Columbia (Chair)

Cindy Bell, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development, Genome Canada

Fiona Brinkman, Distinguished Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Associate Professor, School of Computing Science, and Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Marceline Côté, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa

William Hsiao, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

Yann Joly, Research Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy; Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics and Bioethics Unit, McGill University

Sharmistha Mishra, Clinician Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Division of Infectious Disease, St. Michael’s Hospital

Sandrine Moreira, Head of Genomics and Bioinformatics, Institut national de santé publique du Québec

Samira Mubareka, Infectious Diseases Physician & Virologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre & Research Institute

Jared Simpson, Principal Investigator, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto

Megan Smallwood, Program Manager, Genome Canada

Gary Van Domselaar, Chief, Bioinformatics, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada

CanCOGeN HostSeq Implementation Committee

The CanCOGeN HostSeq Implementation Committee provides key management for the HostSeq project, ensuring the efficient, effective, ethical and equitable implementation of each project across the country, and reports to the Steering Committee through its Chair.

Members

Naveed Aziz, Chief Administrative Officer & Chief Scientific Officer, CGEn (Chair)

Steven Jones, Head, Bioinformatics, BC Cancer Agency (Chair, Data Storage & Sharing Sub-committee)

Bartha Knoppers, Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University

Mark Lathrop, Canada Research Chair in Medical Genomics, McGill University

Stephen Scherer, Director, The Centre for Applied Genomics and McLaughlin Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto

Lisa Strug, Senior Scientist, Genetics & Genome Biology, Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Genome Data Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children (Chair, Genetic Epidemiology Sub-committee)

Stuart Turvey, Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Precision Health, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute (Chair, Study Recruitment Sub-committee)


VirusSeq Working Groups

Capacity Building Working Group

A stipulated outcome for CanCOGeN-VirusSeq is to build national capacity to address the expected COVID-19 second wave and future pandemics. The most significant requirement in this regard concerns the 13 provincial and territorial Canadian Public Health Laboratories.  It is also recognized that certain hospital sequencing sites will require a small amount of capacity building aimed at addressing the anticipated second COVID-19 wave.

Members

Gary Van Domselaar, Chief, Bioinformatics, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada (Chair)

Matthew Croxen

Natalie Knox

Celine Nadon

Jennifer Tanner

Data Analytics Working Group

The genomic sequence data and accompanying metadata generated in this project will be used for genomic surveillance and response to COVID-19, both nationally and within provincial and territorial health jurisdictions. Such activities include sequence analyses for quality assessment/control, tracking of international and interprovincial transmission, lineage assignment, cluster detection, and monitoring for variants that might affect disease severity or transmissibility. In support of these activities, the storage, management, analysis, and sharing of high-quality genome sequence data and accompanying metadata will be coordinated by the National Microbiology Laboratory – Public Health Agency of Canada in conjunction with Provincial Public Health Labs and healthcare partners.

Members

Gary Van Domselaar (Chair)

Fiona Brinkman (Co-Chair)

Zohaib Anwar

Robert Beiko

Matieu Bourgey

Guillaume Bourque

Ahmed Draia

Jun Duan

Marc Fiume

Dan Fornika

Eric Fournier

Erin Gill

Paul Gordon

Emma Griffiths

Jose Hector Galvez Lopez

Darian Hole

Will Hsiao

Jeffrey Joy

Kimia Kamelian

Natalie Knox

Philip Mabon

Finlay Maguire

Tom Matthews

Andrew McArthur

Samir Mechai

Sandrine Moreira

Art Poon

Amos Raphenya

Claire Sevenhuysen

Jared Simpson

Jennifer Tanner

Lauren Tindale

John Tyson

Geoff Winsor

Nolan Woods

Ethics and Governance Working Group

CanCOGeN-VirusSeq is committed to rapid, transparent, and equitable data sharing practices that meet Canadian privacy and ethics regulations and standards. We envisage 3 objectives for data sharing: 1) sharing data publicly to empower global pandemic response; 2) sharing data across Canada’s public health system to enable national surveillance; and 3) data sharing with authorized researchers to promote scientific and medical research development. The governance model for data shared under each objective will be carefully constructed to balance between the protection of privacy and scientific advancement.

Members

Yann Joly (Chair)

Fiona Brinkman

Erin Gill

Will Hsiao

Hanshi Liu

Sharmistha Mishra

Sandrine Moreira

Gary Van Domselaar

Metadata Working Group

To maximize the impact and usefulness of the sequencing data, it must be combined with epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and other contextual data (“metadata”). In order to better align Canada’s multijurisdictional public health system with national and global efforts, i.e., to incorporate metadata in a consistent and usable format suitable for COVID-19 outbreak investigation and response activities, VirusSeq will also serve the critical function of metadata specification and curation, coordinating activities also with HostSeq.

Members

William Hsiao (Chair)

David Alexander

Zohaib Anwar

Nathalie Bastien

Tim Booth

Guillaume Bourque

Fiona Brinkman

Hughes Charest

Caroline Colijn

Matthew Croxen

Guillaume Desnoyers

Rejean Dion

Damion Dooley

Ana Duggan

Leah Dupasquier

Kerry Dust

Nahuel Fittipaldi

Eleni Galanis

Emma Garlock

Greg German

Erin Gill

Gurinder Gopal

Tom Graefenhan

Morag Graham

Emma Griffiths

Linda Hoang

Naveed Janjua

Jeffrey Joy

Kimia Kamelian

Lev Kearney

Natalie Knox

Theodore Kuschak

Jason LeBlanc

Yan Li

Anna Majer

Adel Malek

Dionne Marcino

Ryan McDonald

David Moore

Celine Nadon

Samir Patel

Natalie Prystajecky

Anoosha Sehar

Claire Sevenhuysen

Garrett Sorensen

Laura Steven

Lori Strudwick

Marsha Taylor

Shane Thiessen

Gary Van Domselaar

Adrian Zetner

Research Collaborations Working Group

To capitalize on cutting edge tool and analytical development in this quickly moving research area, engagement with the wider research community is crucial. Outreach to diverse researchers will strive for cross-country inclusion, reflecting national and/or local projects, and engaging different sectors (academic, industrial research, etc.), as well as international partnerships. Research collaborations are envisaged in areas such as sequencing methods, data analytics, modeling, bioinformatics, data harmonization, data sharing, ethics, etc. that are directly relevant and synergistic with VirusSeq goals.

Members

Fiona Brinkman (Chair)

Zohaib Anwar

Marceline Côté

Marc Fiume

Laura Gilbert

Erin Gill

Paul Gordon

Yann Joly

Sandrine Moreira

Samira Mubareka

Natalie Prystajecky

Jennifer Tanner

Gary Van Domselaar

Phot Zahariadis

Sequencing Working Group

A major goal of CanCOGeN-VirusSeq is to employ whole viral genome sequencing in order inform public health decisions by providing information on the spread and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In order to streamline data generation, analyses and sharing, VirusSeq is committed to wet lab and protocol optimization and methodology development. These protocols and methods will assist us in reaching our goal of sequencing up to 100,000 viral genomes.

Members

Ioannis Ragoussis (Chair)

Terrance Snutch (Co-Chair)

Patryk Aftanas

Matthew Croxen

Hooman Derakhshani

Nahuel Fittipaldi

Morag Graham

Andrew McArthur

Sandrine Moreira

Samira Mubareka

Natalie Prystajecky

Ioannis Ragoussis

Jared Simpson

Michael Surette

John Tyson


HostSeq Sub-Committees

Study Recruitment Sub-Committee

The Study Recruitment Sub-Committee will ensure that samples entering the HostSeq initiative are sourced from a broad network of researchers/clinicians across Canada, working on a range of COVID-19 related research. All efforts are being undertaken to ensure representation from underrepresented and minority including, but not limited to, indigenous and remote populations.

Members

Stuart Turvey, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute (Chair)

Laura Arbour, The University of British Columbia

Naveed Aziz, CGEn

Francois Bernier, University of Calgary

Catherine Biggs, The University of British Columbia

Peter Kannu, University of Alberta

David Kelvin, Dalhousie University

Brent Richard, McGill University

Data Storage & Sharing Sub-Committee

The Data Storage and Sharing Sub-Committee is developing a comprehensive plan for storing and sharing the HostSeq sequence data along with associated phenotypic data through a CGEn Databank that is accessible to researchers across Canada and linked to other relevant datasets internationally. This sub-committee is tasked to help create an infrastructure that makes storing, sharing, and managing large volumes of genome sequencing and associated meta-data easier.

Members

Steven Jones, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency; The University of British Columbia; Simon Fraser University (Chair)

Inanc Birol, The University of British Columbia

Guillaume Bourque, McGill University

Lisa Strug, Hospital for Sick Children

Joe Whitney, Hospital for Sick Children

Data Genetic Epidemiology Sub-Committee

The Genetic Epidemiology Sub-Committee will guide data updates as new information about the disease arises and new confounders are learned, as well as help us with data linkages. Members of this group played an important role in helping define the HostSeq Case Report Form.

Members

Lisa Strug, SickKids; University of Toronto (Chair)

Jennifer Brooks, Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute, Ontario

Shelley Bull, Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute, Ontario

Lloyd Elliott, Simon Fraser University

France Gagnon, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Celia Greenwood, McGill University

Rayjean Hung, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

Jerry Lawless, University of Waterloo

Andrew Paterson, Hospital for Sick Children

Lei Sun, University of Toronto


Funding for CanCOGeN is provided through the Government of Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).