There exists today vast knowledge of genomic and phenotypic variation in health and disease, but less understanding of how these variations affect disease. The Network Biology Collaborative Centre (NBCC) is dedicated to providing Canadian scientists with a functional knowledge of how gene products convey biological information and what happens in disease when these gene products are altered.
The NBCC is composed of two integrated, state-of-the-art facilities. The first, Proteomics, uses mass spectrometers to precisely measure the “fingerprints” of protein fragments in order to identify which proteins assemble together into complexes to form cellular substructures, and/or propagate signaling cues within a cell. This type of analysis helps scientists to understand how these protein complexes assemble into signaling networks and how these networks become deregulated in diseases such as cancer.
The second facility, the simple Modular Assay and Robotic Technology (SMART) Facility, was one of the first high-throughput screening centres established in Canada. SMART uses robotic platforms and automated cell imagers to characterize and/or manipulate genes (or the proteins they encode) through genetic or chemical means to identify those of particular importance for disease initiation and progression.
The NBCC provides not only its extensive expertise in the design and application of sophisticated screening strategies, but also its ability to integrate these screens with each other to drive biological insights. It works closely with its customers at every step to guide study design and implementation, ensure proper sample preparation and provide robust data review and analysis. The NBCC is poised to be a major Canadian resource for functional studies of genes and gene products relevant to human development and disease.