November 22, 2019
We are pleased to announce the official launch of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) Ontario Regional Centre at the University of Toronto.
CANSSI has established CANSSI Ontario as a CANSSI Regional Centre, with the goal of promoting statistical and data science research and training in the Ontario region, to strongly support the CANSSI mission to be Canada’s catalyst for discovery and innovation in the statistical and data sciences.
CANSSI is a national not-for-profit organization with the mission of advancing research, collaboration and training in the statistical sciences by forging collaborations with scientists and scholars in academia, government and industry. CANSSI is supported by major funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. CANSSI’s unique model of connecting statistical and scientific leaders for research partnerships emphasizes the co-creation of knowledge, which accelerates innovation in government, industry, and society. Another key objective is the training of new researchers to tackle the challenges of the future.
CANSSI Ontario at U of T is a multidisciplinary unit in the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science. It has been designated as the Ontario Regional Centre for CANSSI, to build connections across the province and within the University of Toronto community.
CANSSI Ontario will support several initiatives that facilitate collaborative research in data science such as data access grants, new investigator awards and training programs. One such CANSSI Ontario-supported training program, the Strategic Training for Advanced Genetic Epidemiology (STAGE), is a long-standing, successful, multidisciplinary research and training program in statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology. CANSSI Ontario STAGE will be a collaboration between the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Statistical Sciences in the Faculty of Arts & Science — both at the University of Toronto — with representation and participation from several other Ontario University investigators.
The Director of CANSSI Ontario is Lisa Strug, Associate Professor of Statistical Sciences in the Faculty of Arts & Science and in the Division of Biostatistics at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Lisa is also Senior Scientist in the Genetics & Genome Biology program at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Associate Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG) at the SickKids Research Institute.
Lisa commented, “It is an honour to serve as the Inaugural Director of CANSSI Ontario where I intend to facilitate multidisciplinary data-intensive research and training in the province towards impactful discovery.”
CANSSI Scientific Director Donald Estep (Simon Fraser University) said, “The challenges and opportunities facing the statistics and data science communities vary enormously across Canada. The Regional Centres like CANSSI Ontario will provide a way for CANSSI to understand the local environment and deploy its national resources more effectively in each province. We are very fortunate to be able to recruit a person with the achievements and vision of Lisa to lead CANSSI Ontario in order to pursue this goal.”
“Arts & Science is very excited to be the academic host for CANSSI Ontario. ” noted Jay Pratt, Vice-Dean Research & Infrastructure, Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto. “As one of our newest extra-departmental units, it will foster cross-collaborative research throughout our Faculty, among the various divisions of the University of Toronto, and across universities in Ontario.”
More about Lisa Strug:
Lisa is an interdisciplinary researcher who has been blending both genomics and statistics research, developing and applying statistical methods to identify genetic contributors to complex traits since 2007. She is the co-lead of two international epilepsy consortia, the lead of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Gene Modifier Consortium, and the co-lead of the International CF Gene Modifier Consortium. Her work as a statistical geneticist pioneered statistical tools for modifier gene discovery. Her team identified some of the first established CF modifier genes and demonstrated that they can contribute to responsiveness to therapies for precision medicine. Lisa, her team, and their industrial partners are championing the search for modifier-directed therapies for CF and other more common, related traits.