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Complex traits

Photo of Philippe Gros.
Dr. Philippe Gros - Owan Egan

Outfitted with a sequence of our genetic blueprint, powerful bioinformatics tools, and the ability to observe how proteins interact with each other and with cells, researchers can now explore the fundamental causes of human illness. The complex traits group examines the interplay between the genes that pre-dispose to disease and environmental factors. This knowledge will lead to the identification of new pathways, genes and proteins involved in disease onset, progression and outcome. Most importantly, it will serve to develop new tools for better prevention and treatment of these diseases.

“This research area is crucial to understanding variations in disease susceptibility and therapeutic success and is a guiding principle for the future of health care delivery.”

Dr. Philippe Gros,
Principal Investigator, Complex Traits

Complex traits

Central to Discovery

Both the Cell Information Systems and Complex Traits groups may be the pillars within the Life Sciences Complex with the most difficult titles to understand, but both areas are central to the advancement of medical research at McGill.

“The Complex Traits group is crucial to understanding variations in disease susceptibility and therapeutic success and is a guiding principle for the future of health care delivery,” said Dr. Philippe Gros, a Biochemistry professor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Principal Investigator of the Complex Traits Group at McGill. A relatively new area of research, the Complex Traits Group looks at how multiple genes interact to cause disease, and what role environmental factors play.

Just how useful this pillar is to the Life Sciences Complex is shown in the discovery last year by a team of researchers led by biochemist Philippe Gros which identified the gene that causes spina bifida, the second most common birth defect in humans.