Event Information

Start Date:2018/06/04
End Date:2018/06/05
Location:Autodesk Technology Centre, MaRS Centre, Toronto

Utilizing Genetic Networks to Decode Complex Disease

The future of genetic networks is here. What methodological and conceptual approaches can we use to further decipher and attribute gene variants to complex traits? How can this knowledge be used and integrated to understand disease etiology and the longer-term pursuit of precision medicine?

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Nearly all human disease has a genetic foundation. A fundamental goal of genetics is to understand how genetic variation leads to phenotypic variation. Considerable advancements have been made in reaching this goal, yet the complexity of genetic interactions (in both coding and non-coding regions), as well as environmental determinants of complex disease makes it challenging to fully attribute genetic causality, predict predisposition, and advance whole-genome precision medicine.  A deeper understanding of how the accumulation of small genetic effects and gene interactions give rise to the overall functioning of a cell will continue to bring the broader genetics community closer to this goal.

On June 4 – 5, 2018, CIFAR’s program in Genetic Networks, in partnership with GET, will be hosting a GETx conference to explore emerging research questions and visionary ideas on gene variants and the larger genetic networks they belong within, in order to better understand complex disease. International thought leaders from research, healthcare and industry will deliberate together on how genetic interactions give rise to phenotypes, by examining this topic through various experimental designs and conceptual approaches that have the potential to drive precision medicine.

The CIFAR-GETx Conference is sponsored by the University of Toronto McLaughlin Centre and Autodesk. The conference is an affiliate event of GET, an annual forum to debate the technical, commercial, and societal impacts of advances in our ability to measure and understand people and their traits.

Please find a speaker list below and check back soon as more will be announced.

The conference is currently at capacity, please register for the waitlist to be informed of open spaces.



JUNE 4, 2018

8:00 – Breakfast

8:30 – Welcome and stage setting for conference

9:00 – Keynote address
George Church, Harvard University

9:45 – Coffee Break

10:15 – Session 1: Complex Factors That Influence Genotype to Phenotype
Discussion moderator: Hannah Carter, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar, University of California, San Diego

• Jasper Rine, University of California, Berkeley
• David Kelley, Calico
• Trey Ideker, University of California, San Diego

11:00 – Moderated Panel Q&A

11:45 – Lunch

12:45 – Session 2: Genetic Interactions, Penetrance and Human Disease
Discussion moderator: Stephen Scherer, CIFAR Senior Fellow, McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine, University of Toronto

• Jason Moffat, CIFAR Senior Fellow, University of Toronto
• Adam Shlien, Hospital for Sick Children
• Shamil Sunyaev, Harvard Medical School

1:30 – Moderated Panel Q&A

2:15 – Coffee Break

2:45 – Session 3: Disruptive Technologies
Discussion moderator: Hu Li, Mayo Clinic

• Chad Myers, CIFAR Fellow University of Minnesota
• Jennifer Listgarten, University of California, Berkeley
• Prashant Mali, University of California San Diego

3:30 – Moderated Panel Q&A

4:15 – Discussion and Synthesis of Day 1

5:00 – Reception at JLABS, MaRS

JUNE 5, 2018

8:00 – Breakfast

8:30 – Welcome, Stage Setting for Day 2

9:00 – Session 4: Natural Variation and Population Genetics
Discussion moderator: Philip Awadalla, Director, Computational Biology, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Nancy Cox, Vanderbilt University
• Unnur Thorsteinsdottir, DeCODE

9:40 – Moderated Panel Q&A

10:25 – Coffee Break

10:55 – Session 5: Breaking Down Silos Between Academia, Industry and The Clinic – Model Systems To Human Populations
Discussion moderator: Andrew Hessel, Humane Genomics Inc.

• Calum MacRae, Harvard University
• Amit Deshwar, DeepGenomics
• Marc Fiume, DNAStack

11:40 – Moderated Panel Q&A

12:20 – Discussion and Synthesis of Day 2
Concluding Remarks



GetX Logo


Johnson & Johnson



Photo of Philip Awadalla

Philip Awadalla Director, Computational Biology, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Photo of Hannah Carter

Hannah Carter University of California, San Diego, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics
Photo of George Church

George Church Harvard University,
Photo of Nancy J. Cox

Nancy J. Cox Vanderbilt Genetics Institute,
Photo of Amit Deshwar

Amit Deshwar Senior Research Scientist, DeepGenomics
Photo of Marc Fiume

Marc Fiume Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, DNAStack
Photo of Andrew Hessel

Andrew Hessel CEO, Humane Genomics Inc.
Photo of Trey Ideker

Trey Ideker University of California, San Diego
Photo of David Kelley

David Kelley Principal Data Scientist, Calico
Photo of Hu Li

Hu Li Center for Individualized Medicine and Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Clinic
Photo of Jennifer Listgarten

Jennifer Listgarten University of California, Berkeley
Photo of Calum MacRae

Calum MacRae Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Photo of Prashant Mali

Prashant Mali Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, University of California San Diego
Photo of Chad Myers

Chad Myers University of Minnesota, Computer Science and Engineering department
Photo of Jason Moffat

Jason Moffat University of Toronto, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
Photo of Jasper Rine

Jasper Rine University of California, Berkeley
Photo of Stephen W. Scherer

Stephen W. Scherer Hospital for Sick Children, The Centre for Applied Genomics
Photo of Adam Shlien

Adam Shlien The Hospital for Sick Children ,
Photo of Shamil Sunyaev

Shamil Sunyaev Professor of Medicine; Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School
Photo of Dr. Unnur Thorsteinsdottir

Dr. Unnur Thorsteinsdottir VP, Research, DeCODE

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