AI for precision discovery on associations in biological systems


Precise discovery on the causal associations between phenotype (such as human complex diseases) and underlining genetic variations is one of the fundamental questions in life sciences and has an essential role in translational medicine. This project will use AI methods and technologies to precisely identify genetic-phenotype associations in a cell-subtype specific manner by combining massively parallel single-cell-based CRISPR knockdown or knockout screening. The University of Toronto will investigate precise discovery of disease signals through single-cell omics data. The National Research Council will investigate optimized guide RNA design for CRIPSR screening data and building a single cell 'omics data analysis and precision editing platform.

Project team

Dr. Gary Bader

Dr. Gary Bader is the Ontario Research Chair in Biomarkers of Disease at the University of Toronto. He is an expert in computational biology/bioinformatics, specializing in the use of computers to analyze networks of molecules interacting inside cells and single cell genomics. Dr. Bader's work in deciphering the role of cellular pathway failures is important in understanding disease causes and developing more effective cures.

Find out more about Dr. Bader and his research lab.

Dr. Xiaojian Shao

Dr. Xiaojian Shao is a research officer with the National Research Council.  He is an expert in computational genomics, disease epigenomics, optimization and machine learning including deep learning. His current research focus lies in the development of statistical and machine learning methods for inferring causal associations between genetic variants and human complex traits and diseases.

Find out more about Dr. Shao's publications.

Dr. Youlian Pan

Dr. Youlian Pan is a research officer with the National Research Council. Dr. Pan is an expert in big data analytics, machine learning including deep learning, functional genomics related with human diseases, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and systems biology related with yield and resistance to biotic or abiotic stress of commercial crops, such as canola and wheat.

Find out more about Dr. Pan and his publications.

Highly qualified personnel (HQP) biographies

Hamed Heydari

Hamed Heydari is a senior Ph.D. student supervised by Gary Bader and Charles Boone at The Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto. Mr. Heydari is developing new mathematical models for scalable causal analysis of genetics and genomics data.