Dr. Frederick Roth’s lab develops new technologies such as DNA sequencing techniques.
Dr. Frederick Roth
‘Barcode fusion genetics’ may ring of spacecraft or futuristic devices, but for Dr. Frederick Roth, a new recruit to the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, the term is just part of his daily routine. It refers to a technology for detecting even the most subtle interactions between genes, or how cancer-causing mutations change the network of interactions between proteins. This is just one of the tools that Dr. Roth’s team is developing.
He was drawn to the Lunenfeld from Harvard Medical School, attracted by the opportunity to collaborate with internationally renowned experts and the availability of a massive amount of genetic information. “We need to understand the fundamental aspects of how proteins, cells and organisms function before developing new means to cure common diseases including cancer,” he says.
Dr. Roth was selected in 2010 as an inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC), and last year joined the Lunenfeld as a Senior Investigator, in addition to a joint affiliation he shares at the University of Toronto’s Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research.
Building on his work in experimental and computational genomics at Harvard, Dr. Roth is working with Lunenfeld researchers in the Systems Biology group to develop new technologies for discovering gene functions, the pathways they encode, and how these genes and pathways are related to human diseases. DNA sequencing, for example, can help Dr. Roth and others at the Lunenfeld to pinpoint the genes most likely to harbour mutations and hence cause disease.
“Our ultimate goal is to reveal more about the causes of complex illnesses such as cancer, so that we can find more accurate and personalized ways to treat them,” says Dr. Roth.