The Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre (ATAGC) is a centre within the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta.
Our mission is:
To improve human health care by applying molecular understanding to human disease, and specifically by studying the molecular changes in tissue biopsies.
Our goals are:
- To develop a new understanding of disease phenotypes and mechanisms.
- To reclassify disease states and outcomes.
- To intervene effectively to prevent progressive organ failure in transplants and in primary organ diseases.
The centre is led by Dr. Philip Halloran, a renowned clinician who performs research at the clinical and basic levels. The ATAGC was established by a Genome Canada grant along with investments from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, Alberta Health Services, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, and several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
The centre examines the molecular changes in disease states in humans and relevant animal models, particularly using “gene chip” (microarray) technology. We relate these changes to the current clinical methods use to study these diseases, such as histopathology and diagnostic imaging. Biopsies from patients with organ disease are the principal focus for establishing what the molecular changes mean, and their relationship to the current tests as well as the outcomes in the patients.
We take a multidisciplinary approach to explore the molecular changes in disease. We have analyzed thousands of biopsy samples from humans and animals using high‐throughput gene expression technology like microarrays, histopathology, antibody studies and outcomes.
Although our research and services currently focus on organ transplants such as kidney, heart, liver and lung, we apply these insights to primary organ diseases. Biopsies of diseases such as ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatitis C, heart and lung diseases, progressive renal disease, skin diseases and cancer are all being analyzed with these approaches.
The results are leading to new understanding, new tests, and new treatments for people with these conditions.