Courtot Lab Genome Informatics

Dr Mélanie Courtot is the Director of Genome Informatics and a Principal Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at University of Toronto.

Dr Courtot is passionate about translational informatics - building intelligent systems to gain new insights and impact human health. Her lab aims to build a globally shared knowledge ecosystem to advance science and improve health for all. This requires high-quality data, robust data integration processes at scale and discovery platforms providing data access across international borders. At OICR, her team of 25 develops the Overture software suite, which has helped managed ~3 million genomes (2.5 petabytes of data) accessed by over 300,000 researchers worldwide. Overture supports many active large-scale cancer genomics projects Dr Courtot leads. These include ICGC and ICGC-ARGO (collecting molecular and clinical data for over 100k patients worldwide), VirusSeq (Canadian Covid portal with over 500k SARS-CoV-2 sequences), and the upcoming pan-Canadian Genome Library. It also drives the African Pathogen Data Sharing and Archive Platform to upload and share pathogen sequences and associated metadata across continental Africa.

After receiving her Master’s in Computer Science in France in 2002, Dr Courtot worked as a software engineer and database administrator for several years across France, the UK, Greece and Canada. She obtained her PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of British Columbia in 2014, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in Public Health. Dr Courtot co-leads the Clinical and Phenotypic workstream and Data Use and Cohort representation groups for the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health as well as cohort harmonization efforts for the International HundredK+ Cohorts Consortium. She is an advisory board member for the Public Health Alliance for Genomic Epidemiology coalition, European Open Science Cloud for Cancer project and the eLwazi open data science platform. In 2024 she joined the Researcher Council for the Digital Research Alliance of Canada to advise the Alliance on the development of its strategic vision and priorities to best serve the Canadian research community.