The GRID Project: Gene Regulators in Disease

Principal Investigator: Tomi M. Pastinen
Theme : Health
Competition : Competition III
Status : Completed
End: Dec. 31, 2010
Budget : $10,426,748.00

Gene regulation is the process of DNA and protein interactions in a gene that determines where and how the gene will be activated. Small differences in gene regulation among individuals can lead to disease susceptibility or resistance. But these differences are not well understood yet, according to Dr. Thomas J. Hudson, geneticist, immunologist and allergist, and Director of the McGill Genome Centre. In order to clarify regulatory mechanisms in common diseases, Dr. Hudson is leading the GRID Project: Gene Regulators in Disease. The GRID project will not seek to identify new genes. Instead, the project will focus on regulatory mechanisms in common human diseases, such as abnormal gene production, assembly and turnover. The project will characterize more than 250 disease genes believed to be associated with diabetes, asthma, inflammatory diseases and some forms of cancer. The team expects to identify a cascade of biological steps initiated by regulatory mechanisms in 25 genes that modify disease risk. The project will investigate gene regulation in a breed of transgenic mice developed at McGill University, in collaboration with Nucleis SA, a French company. Nucleis will set up a North American biotechnology laboratory in Montreal and train highly qualified personnel to work in this area. The project will also collaborate with other Canadian biomedical and pharmaceutical centres. By identifying the biological steps initiated by regulatory mechanisms, the research team expects to better understand how disease risk is modified. This in turn is expected to open the way to new treatments and health products. At the same time, the project will study the ethical implications and dimensions of this research, so that an appropriate framework for this and other projects can be developed.


Co-project leaders:

Thomas Hudson Ontario Cancer Institute
Alan Peterson McGill University
Johanne Queenton Université de Sherbrooke



Mathieu Blanchette McGill University
Ken Dewar McGill University
Bartha Maria Knoppers Université de Montréal
Damian Labuda CHU Sainte Justine
Jacek Majewski McGill University
Anna Naumova Royal Victoria Hospital
Constantin Polychronakos Montreal Children's Hospital
Rob Sladek McGill University