Dr. Touati Benoukraf
Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics for Personalized Medicine
Research involves: Using sequencing technologies and data mining.
Research relevance: This research aims to generate and analyse individual genomic datasets to discover novel mechanisms involved in pathogenesis and therapeutic resistance.
Fighting diseases with genome analytics
High-throughput sequencing has revolutionized the way in which scientists study physiopathology. In this context, bioinformatics is used, thanks to “Big Data”, to harness and even produce the knowledge indispensable to the discovery of new treatments tailored to the patient.
This technological leap leads researchers from studying the influence of individual genes to studying complex gene networks that interact with multiple external effectors, such as epigenetic modulators and the tissue microenvironment (i.e., microbiota and immune system). As a result, the volume and complexity of the data has dramatically increased, thus requiring more sophisticated in silico analysis and approaches to better understand human diseases. Mathematics and computer sciences have become indispensable tools to handle this multi-dimensional “omics” information.
Very recently, sequencing technologies have been used successfully in clinics, but it is only offered to diagnose or select treatment strategies for a limited number of conditions. Dr. Benoukraf’s laboratory combines multidisciplinary expertise ranging from mathematics and computer sciences to molecular biology, allowing the integration of epigenetics and microbiomics dimensions to patients’ genomic information, hence the discovery of novel mechanisms involved in pathogenesis or therapeutic resistance.
Dr. Benoukraf’s research in this field, is therefore essential to increase our knowledge and expand the use of global individual’s omics profiles to better understand disease mechanisms and offer targeted and personalized treatments.