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Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer is an international leader in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics for precision medicine. By developing and deploying cutting-edge genome sequencing, computational and analytical technology, we are creating novel strategies to prevent and diagnose cancers and other diseases, uncovering new therapeutic targets and helping the world realize the social and economic benefits of genome science.
We are the Canadian node of the Earth Biogenome Project.

Art of the Personalized Oncogenomics Program

A poet is, after all, a sort of scientist, but engaged in a qualitative science in which nothing is measurable. He lives with data that cannot be numbered, and his experiments can be done only once. The information in a poem is, by definition, not reproducible. He becomes an equivalent of scientist, in the act of examining and sorting the things popping in [to his head], finding the marks of remote similarity, points of distant relationship, tiny irregularities that indicate that this one is really the same as that one over there only more important. Gauging the fit, he can meticulously place pieces of the universe together, in geometric configurations that are as beautiful and balanced as crystals.
— Lewis Thomas (The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher)


 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
5 Years of Personalized Oncogenomics Project at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. The poster shows 545 cancer cases. Cases ordered chronologically by case number.

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
5 Years of Personalized Oncogenomics Project at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. The poster shows 545 cancer cases. Cases grouped by diagnosis (tissue type) and then by similarity within group.

1 · Cancer is the difference of differences

As individuals, we all have slightly different genomes. If you compare the genomes of two people, you will find about 3 million base pair differences, which is about 0.1% of the genome.

This variation exists not only within the population but potentially also, to a lesser extent, among our cells, which number around 40 trillion. That's roughly 10,000 cells for each base in your 3 billion base genome. And each has a role to play.

POG cases, by tissue type
n %
Gastrointestinal 141 25
 
Breast 138 25
 
Thoracic 57 10
 
Gynecologic 45 8.3
 
Soft tissue 44 8.1
 
Skin 11 2.0
 
Urologic 8 1.5
 
Hematologic 7 1.3
 
Head and neck 6 1.1
 
Endocrine 5 0.9
 
Central nervous system 5 0.9
 
Other 78 14
 
ALL 545

One consequence of this complexity and variation is that changes in the genome (through mutation or other processes) can have very different effects, depending on both the change and the genome. Cancer is a phenomena in which cells' ability to organize themselves as they divide is altered due to changes in the genome. It is an incredibly complex biological phenomenon—considering all the genomes in the population and all the possible changes that may arise, there is truly an inexhaustible number of ways in which the genome can break.

2 · Classifying cancer

Cancers are classified according to their site of origin, such as lung, breast, liver, or colon. This is a coarse grouping—within each group there are many subtypes with differences in response to treatment and overall behaviour.

3 · Diversities among clinical cases

The design of the POG art highlights the diversity and similarity among cases. The diversity is what makes the study of cancer difficult and the similarities are what makes inference possible.

Personalized Oncogenomics Program at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Center / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca

Each case is represented by three concentric rings. The width of each ring represents the extent to which the case is similar (as measured by correlation) to cancers of the type encoded by the color of the ring (see Methods).

4 · Remixes

In additional to the posters, I've created remixes for your desktop at 4k resolution.


 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
png
5 Years of Personalized Oncogenomics Project at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. The poster shows 545 cancer cases. Cases ordered chronologically by case number.

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
png
5 Years of Personalized Oncogenomics Project at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. The poster shows 545 cancer cases. Cases ordered chronologically by case number.

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
png
5 Years of Personalized Oncogenomics Project at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. The poster shows 545 cancer cases. Cases ordered chronologically by case number.

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
png
5 Years of Personalized Oncogenomics Project at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. The poster shows 545 cancer cases. Cases ordered chronologically by case number.

5 · Ride to Conquer Cancer — Data-powered, human-driven

This year, the cyclists in the Ride to Conquer Cancer will not only have the chance to raise money for research (as they've always done) but also do so while wearing data (as they've never done before).

Personalized Oncogenomics Program at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Center / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The design on the posters is being used for the Vancouver Ride to Conquer Cancer cycling jersey. (buy a jersey, tour info)

You can purchase your own data-powered and human-driven cycling jersey.

news + thoughts

Cell Genomics cover

Mon 16-01-2023

Our cover on the 11 January 2023 Cell Genomics issue depicts the process of determining the parent-of-origin using differential methylation of alleles at imprinted regions (iDMRs) is imagined as a circuit.

Designed in collaboration with with Carlos Urzua.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Our Cell Genomics cover depicts parent-of-origin assignment as a circuit (volume 3, issue 1, 11 January 2023). (more)

Akbari, V. et al. Parent-of-origin detection and chromosome-scale haplotyping using long-read DNA methylation sequencing and Strand-seq (2023) Cell Genomics 3(1).

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Science Advances cover

Thu 05-01-2023

My cover design on the 6 January 2023 Science Advances issue depicts DNA sequencing read translation in high-dimensional space. The image showss 672 bases of sequencing barcodes generated by three different single-cell RNA sequencing platforms were encoded as oriented triangles on the faces of three 7-dimensional cubes.

More details about the design.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My Science Advances cover that encodes sequence onto hypercubes (volume 9, issue 1, 6 January 2023). (more)

Kijima, Y. et al. A universal sequencing read interpreter (2023) Science Advances 9

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring

Mon 21-11-2022

If you sit on the sofa for your entire life, you’re running a higher risk of getting heart disease and cancer. —Alex Honnold, American rock climber

In a follow-up to our Survival analysis — time-to-event data and censoring article, we look at how regression can be used to account for additional risk factors in survival analysis.

We explore accelerated failure time regression (AFTR) and the Cox Proportional Hazards model (Cox PH).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring. (read)

Dey, T., Lipsitz, S.R., Cooper, Z., Trinh, Q., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2022) Points of significance: Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring. Nature Methods 19.

Music video for Max Cooper's Ascent

Tue 25-10-2022

My 5-dimensional animation sets the visual stage for Max Cooper's Ascent from the album Unspoken Words. I have previously collaborated with Max on telling a story about infinity for his Yearning for the Infinite album.

I provide a walkthrough the video, describe the animation system I created to generate the frames, and show you all the keyframes

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Frame 4897 from the music video of Max Cooper's Asent.

The video recently premiered on YouTube.

Renders of the full scene are available as NFTs.

Gene Cultures exhibit — art at the MIT Museum

Tue 25-10-2022

I am more than my genome and my genome is more than me.

The MIT Museum reopened at its new location on 2nd October 2022. The new Gene Cultures exhibit featured my visualization of the human genome, which walks through the size and organization of the genome and some of the important structures.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My art at the MIT Museum Gene Cultures exhibit tells shows the scale and structure of the human genome. Pay no attention to the pink chicken.

Annals of Oncology cover

Wed 14-09-2022

My cover design on the 1 September 2022 Annals of Oncology issue shows 570 individual cases of difficult-to-treat cancers. Each case shows the number and type of actionable genomic alterations that were detected and the length of therapies that resulted from the analysis.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
An organic arrangement of 570 individual cases of difficult-to-treat cancers showing genomic changes and therapies. Apperas on Annals of Oncology cover (volume 33, issue 9, 1 September 2022).

Pleasance E et al. Whole-genome and transcriptome analysis enhances precision cancer treatment options (2022) Annals of Oncology 33:939–949.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My Annals of Oncology 570 cancer cohort cover (volume 33, issue 9, 1 September 2022). (more)

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

© 1999–2023 Martin Krzywinski | contact | Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences CentreBC Cancer Research CenterBC CancerPHSA