Mission of the Omics Data Science Initiative

The SFU Omics Data Science Initiative responds to growing needs for computational methods for the study of life sciences, in particular in the areas of public health microbiology and precision medicine.

ODSI will provide a centralized collaborative platform to support researchers and students through shared facilities, advance knowledge mobilization and technology transfer, and facilitate cross-sector collaborations with external partners.

Our researchers include a core group of individuals with disciplinary expertise in fields such as: Computing Science, Health Sciences, Genomics, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Statistics, Mathematics, and Communications. Institute researchers have close regional collaborations with the BC Genome Science Centre, the Vancouver Prostate Centre, the University of British Columbia, and the BC Centre for Disease Control, among others.

By 2025,

  • Between 100 million and 2 billion human genomes will have been sequenced, and activities are underway to integrate lifestyle (e.g. dietary and physical activity data) and physiological readouts from wearable and other devices with multi-omic (genomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic) data to improve health and predict pathologies. 
  • The data storage demands for these efforts alone to run as much as 40 exabytes. However, storage is only a minor part of the problem, with computing requirements for distributing and analyzing the data being even more demanding. The digitalization of biology and medicine requires systems and methods to store, distribute and analyse massive data sets of diverse information, spanning environmental and physiological data, with genomes and their variations, gene expression data, proteome data, microbiome data, and metabolomics data.

Genomics is becoming a disruptive technology that is impacting a range of industries in Canada such as healthcare, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. 

Photos: Front page by Hal Gatewood; Health care workers by Luis Melendez; Pills by rawpixel; all on Unsplash.