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Image of a chrome sculpture representing a DNA strand

CIFAR understands that the search for knowledge is the defining feature of humanity’s great, unfolding story.

Richard Ivey
Chair of Principal Gifts Campaign

Genetic Networks

The Genetic Networks program is devoted to discovering how genes interact with one another, research that could identify the root causes of many complex genetic diseases, and lead to new treatments and preventive measures.


Members of this program are devoted to charting these genetic interactions with the purpose of establishing the complete gene interaction network map: the so-called “interactome.” This map leads to deeper understanding of cell function and regulation.

Not only do interactome dynamics govern normal cellular activity, they also cause cellular dysfunction. Gene interactions in the form of multiple gene abnormalities are the basis for many human diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many cancers.

Thus, understanding how our genes work together as networks holds the potential for new treatments and preventive measures in disease, and adds a new level of complexity to scientists’ knowledge of how DNA works to integrate and regulate cell functionality.

Launched in 2005, the Genetic Networks program unites genetic researchers working on a wide variety of species, including humans. This broadly integrated investigation of genetic interactions is unique in the world. Program members have strengths in statistics, computational biology and theoretical physics, as well as the core biological sciences of genetics and biochemistry.

From yeast to human beings, genetic interactions have been preserved from one species to another throughout evolutionary history. Consequently, this program’s research in simple model systems such as yeast and worm, can be extrapolated to humans. This work can help clarify how natural mutations and intentional genetic manipulations can cause, cure, or prevent many complex human diseases.

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CO-DIRECTOR

Brenda Andrews

Genetic Networks

Dr. Brenda Andrews is Professor and Chair of the Banting & Best Department of Medical Research within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is also Director of the Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research.

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CO-DIRECTOR

Frederick P. Roth

Genetic Networks

Fritz Roth is a Professor at the University of Toronto within the Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research, a Senior Scientist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and a Lecturer at Harvard Medical School.

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