Thompson Rivers University

Provincial funds double support for genomics lab

August 13, 2021

Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme

Matching federal funding announced in spring, the Province of British Columbia is contributing almost $850,000 toward research at Thompson Rivers University that will enhance our understanding of microbial ecology and climate change.

Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon said this week that $848,500 from the BC Knowledge Development Fund has been allocated to microbiologist Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme for the TRU bI/O Network, which supports genomic and molecular biology innovation.

In March, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) directed $850,000 toward the TRU bI/O Network, integrating several of TRU’s current technologies and providing new genomics equipment, laboratory space and computer infrastructure.

“This significant investment establishes the TRU Microbial Ecology Laboratory, a powerful addition to the TRUGen Applied Genomics Laboratory under the TRU bI/O Network that is going to have an impact on environmental research and student training for years to come,” said Van Hamme.

“The new equipment and facilities will be transformative for the researchers involved, particularly the junior faculty members who will now be able to engage trainees in cutting-edge laboratory and bioinformatic research programs.”

Researchers use the lab to study plant genome evolution, microbial ecology, environmental remediation, and agricultural systems and products. Their work will develop their understanding of how natural systems respond to climate change, improve responses to environmental contamination and address issues of food security in the future.

“With a growing reputation as an open access research university, TRU is pleased to have been awarded provincial government funding that ensures we remain at the forefront of research excellence and innovation,” said Will Garrett-Petts, associate vice-president, Research and Graduate Studies.

“These investments are vital to BC’s Interior region, allowing us to attract and retain outstanding researchers while also providing enhanced training facilities for our students. I extend sincerest congratulations to Dr. Van Hamme and his colleagues, whose work is contributing new knowledge and the promise of improved quality of life for the communities we serve.”

The funding was awarded to Van Hamme, molecular ecologist Dr. Eric Bottos and University of Saskatchewan collaborator Dr. Lingling Jin, and will support undergraduate and graduate students who are studying genomics and bioinformatics.

Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme, Professor, Biological Sciences (on holidays, but responding to media requests)

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