TorBUG meets on the last Wednesday of every month from September through April. Research presentations by bioinformatics leaders, students and industry representatives are followed by networking over pizza and refreshments.

Meetings are held in the Red Room at the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, 160 College Street at 4:00 pm and are free and open to all.

Meeting Format:

3:00pm – 4:00pm By Request Only - Trainees meet with Speaker (Black Room, Terrence Donnelly Centre). Contact to arrange a meeting with the guest speaker
4:00pm – 4:15pm Trainee Presentation (Red Room, Terrence Donnelly Centre)
4:15pm – 5:00pm Speaker Presentation (Red Room, Terrence Donnelly Centre)
5:00pm – 7:00pm Pizza and Beverage Session with Speaker and Bioinformatics community (Red Room, Terrence Donnelly Centre)

2014-2015 Season

Next Talk: February 25, 2015

3:00-4:00 - If you would like the opportunity to have a 'fireside' chat with Benjamin Haibe-Kains, please contact us at Discussions will be arranged between 3:00-4:00pm in CCBR Black Room

4:00-5:00 - Main Event in CCBR Red Room
Trainee Speaker: Sunny Yu Liu, Wrana Lab, University of Toronto
Talk Title: Translational bioinformatics: the key to precision medicine

Guest Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Haibe-Kains, Princess Margaret Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics Laboratory
Talk Title: Biomarker Discovery Using In Vitro Drug Sensitivity: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Cancer cell line studies have long been used to test efficacy of therapeutic agents and to explore genomic factors predictive of response. Despite numerous attempts, the search for robust biomarkers of drug response has been mostly unsuccessful, probably due to small sample size and potential noise in the pharmacogenomic data. There is therefore a dire need for assessing the quality and reproducibility of such valuable datasets, as well as for combining multiple independent studies to increase the sample size and subsequently, the statistical power of biomarker discovery. In this talk I will present two of our recently published studies that demonstrated the importance of standardization to properly assess the consistency of large pharmacogenomic studies. As our results suggest that high level of inconsistency in drug sensitivity data might be responsible to the lack of robustness of the derived biomarkers, I will discuss some approaches that could help address the key issue of reproducibility.

Upcoming Speakers in 2014/2015:

September 24, 2014 – Sandrine Dudoit
October 29, 2014 – Heng Li
November 26, 2014 – Mads Kaern
January 28, 2015 – Anna Goldenberg
February 25, 2015 – Benjamin Haibe-Kains
March 25, 2015 – Nicholas Provart
April 29, 2015 – Paul Flicek

Past Speakers

  • Watch our past presentations on YouTube

Wednesday September 24, 2012

Speaker: Lincoln Stein, Director of Informatics and Bio-computing at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.
YouTube Presentation: modENCODE: The Good, the Bad and the "Uggh"

Short Presentation: Marc Fiume, PhD Candidate in Computer Science, Brudno Lab, University of Toronto.
YouTube Presentation: Next-generation genome browsing

Wednesday October 31, 2012

Speaker: Brian O'Connor
YouTube Presentation: Hack a What? Doing bioinformatics the Hack-a-thon Way

Speaker: Robin Haw
YouTube Presentation: Google Summer of Code: Bringing Google to Bioinformatics

Short Presentation: Yue Dong
YouTube Presentation: My Experience in the Google world

Speaker: Jean Lozach, Senior Scientist at Illumina Bioinformatics.
YouTube Presentation: BASE Space: Open Tools in the Cloud

Wednesday November 28, 2012

Speaker: Lars Jorgensen, Director of Genome Informatics, Personalized Genomics & Innovative Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Title: Bioinformatics in a Clinical Setting

Short Presentation: Omar Wagih, Masters Student in Computer Science, Bader Lab, University of Toronto
Title: SGATools: tools for image analysis, normalization and scoring SGA screens

Wednesday January 30, 2013

Speaker: Michael Brudno, Director, Centre for Computational Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children & Associate Professor, University of Toronto.
Title: Analyzing and Visualizing High Throughput Sequencing Data

Short Presentation: Leopold Parts, Research Associate, Boone & Andrews Labs, University of Toronto
Title: How come I have my father's nose? Quantitative genetics of protein traits.

Wednesday February 27, 2013

Speaker: Fritz Roth, Senior Scientist, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Biology.
Title: 1) Pointing to causal genes on a prix fixe GWAS menu, and 2) protein network mapping via wild sex and sequencing
Short Presentation: Juri Reimand, Postdoctoral Fellow in Bader Lab, University of Toronto
Title: Chasing cancer drivers in cell signalling networks

Wednesday March 27, 2013

Speaker: Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University.
Title: Information and Scientific Visualization: Experiments in Aesthetics, Meaning and Process
Short Presentation: Jamie Waese, PhD Candidate, Department of Cell & Systems Biology, University of Toronto
Title: Building Data Visualization Tools for Large Biological Data Sets

Wednesday April 24, 2013, 4:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Wyeth Wasserman, Professor of Medical Genetics, Senior Scientist and Co-Director at CMMT at the University of British Columbia.
Title: Discovery of Regulatory Variations in Whole Genome Sequences
Short Presentation: Dr. Nuno Barbosa-Morais, Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
Title: Studying the evolution of tissue-specific alternative splicing using RNA-Seq data

Wednesday September 25, 2013

Speaker: Brian Shoichet, Professor at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto.
Title: The Metabolic Code
Short Presentation: Maria Safi, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
Title: Efficient a priori modeling of drug resistance: structural models

Wednesday October 30, 2013

Speaker: Paul Boutros, Principal Investigator, Informatics and Bio-computing, OICR.
YouTube Presentation: World War B: Making Benchmarking Exciting

Short Presentation: Carl de Boer, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
YouTube Presentation: Poly-dA:dT tracts form a directional nucleosomal turnstile in vivo

November 27, 2013

Speaker: Michael Hoffman, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
YouTube Presentation: Semi-automated annotation of the human genome using chromatin and RNA-seq data

Short Presentation: Sarah Gagliano, Joanne Knight lab at CAMH
YouTube Presentation: A method to incorporate hundreds of functional characteristics with association evidence to improve SNP prioritization

January 29, 2014

Guest Speaker: Jared Simpson, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
YouTube Presentation: Designing scalable algorithms for sequence analysis

Short Presentation: Lee Zamparo, Zhang Lab at University of Toronto
YouTube Presentation: Dimensionality reduction for high-content screening data

February 26, 2014

Guest Speaker: Guillaume Bourque, McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Center
Title: Mapping the functional elements in the human genome

Short Presentation: Oren Kraus, Frey Lab at University of Toronto
YouTube Presentation: Outlier Detection for High-Content Cell Screening

March 26, 2014

Guest Speaker: Michael Lawrence, Genentech
Title:Scalable and Integrative Genomics with R/Bioconductor

Short Presentation: David Shih, Taylor Lab at Sick Kids
YouTube Presentation: Investigating the molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma: means, motive and opportunity

April 30, 2014

Guest Speaker: Titus Brown, Michigan State University
YouTube Presentation: Building khmer, a platform for research in scalable sequence analysis

Short Presentation: Julio Diaz Caballero, David Guttman's lab at University of Toronto
YouTube Presentation: Periodic Selection Drives Pseudomonas aeruginosa Diversity in the Cystic Fibrosis Lung

September 24, 2014

Guest Speaker: Sandrine Dudoit, University of California Berkeley
YouTube Presentation: Normalization and Differential Expression in RNA-Seq

Short Presentation: Joseph O'Neill, University of Guelph
YouTube Presentation: Multi-locus GWAS analysis/genomic selection as a "clique" problem solved through evolutionary computation

October 29, 2014

Guest Speaker: Dr. Heng Li, Broad Institute
Title: Experimenting FM-index for multiple human samples

Short Presentation: Ladislav Rampasek, University of Toronto
Title: Probabilistic Method for Detecting Copy Number Variation in a Fetal Genome Using Maternal Plasma Sequencing

November 26, 2014

Guest Speaker: Dr. Mads Kaern, University of Ottawa
Title: Evidence for non-genetic causes of eukaryotic drug resistance

Short Presentation: David Kim, Cowen Lab, University of Toronto
Title: Investigating the Fungal Microbiome of Cystic Fibrosis Patient Lungs

January 28, 2015

Guest Speaker: Dr. Anna Goldenberg, University of Toronto
Title: Patient network-based framework for data integration in complex human diseases

Short Presentation: Amit Deshwar, Morris Lab, University of Toronto
Title: Reconstructing the evolutionary history of tumours