Scientist Marco Marra of Vancouver is a world leader in the field of genomics.
Canadian born and educated, with a PhD from Simon Fraser University, Marco Marra trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the Washington University Genome Sequence Center, one of the top two sequencing centres in the world at that time.
In 1998, Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith and Dr. Victor Ling set out to establish the Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver. Marco Marra was their top choice to head the Mapping and Sequencing teams.
Marco Marra took over as the centre’s director when Dr. Smith died of cancer in 2000. The Centre now has more than 280 scientists, trainees and staff and a grant funding level averaging more than 25 million dollars each year.
Led by Marco Marra, the Genome Science Centre was first in the world to sequence the SARS virus in 2003. This discovery had huge implications for many diseases, including cancers, as the techniques used for SARs could be applied to many fields.
Marco Marra and his team were also the first to map the human genome, and in so doing, ensured the human genome sequence data remained in the public domain where it would be accessible to all.
Marco Marra has received many honours and awards in recognition of his outstanding scientific contributions and leadership. These include honorary doctoral degrees from Simon Fraser University and the University of Calgary; Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada; a British Columbia Innovation Council Frontiers in Research Award; The Caldwell Partners International Best of the Best of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 award; and the Genome BC Award of Scientific Excellence.