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Big data breakthrough: award-winning research helps scientists understand cancer gene expression

June 14, 2017


The Cancer Genome Atlas has generated a whopping 2.5 petabytes (2.5x1012 bytes) of data, giving scientists an extremely powerful tool to understand cancer and develop new treatments. One of the biggest challenges now is to figure out more reliable and efficient ways to analyze the data. Dr. Theodore Perkins and this team recently received the highest award at a major international conference for developing a new mathematical approach to do just this. Their approach involves Bayesian logic, which provides a way to update the probability of a hypothesis as more evidence becomes available. They found that the new approach could create more reliable networks to show how certain microRNA molecules are expressed together in cancer cells. The research was presented at the International Society for Computational Biology’s Great Lakes Bioinformatics Conference.

Authors: Parameswaran Ramachandran, Daniel Sánchez-Taltavull, Theodore J. Perkins

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion


The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See www.ohri.ca for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

University of Ottawa: —A crossroads of cultures and ideas


The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe. www.uottawa.ca

Media Contact


Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253
jganton@ohri.ca