Skip to main content

Paul Gordon

Bioinformatics Manager
Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute
Photo de Paul Gordon au travail
Photo de Paul Gordon au travail
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Paul Gordon is a Bioinformatics Manager at the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Halifax, NS

I now live in: Calgary, AB

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor's degree in Computing Science at Dalhousie UniversityPhD in Computer Science from the University of Calgary

What I do at work

I typically have a one-hour or two-half hour meetings each day. These may be with research professors who are looking to design a DNA sequencing experiment. Or I might be meeting with grad students and post-doctoral fellows who want to learn how to approach a specific DNA analysis tasks. I also meet with peers to discuss how to improve the interpretation of DNA sequencing results. The rest of the day usually involves programming new analysis methods, processing new DNA datasets (including quality assurance), and keeping abreast of the scientific literature.

My career path is

I was introduced to bioinformatics in 1996 during a cooperative education work term. At that time I was doing my Bachelor's degree in Computing Science at Dalhousie University. During that work term at the National Research Council, I coded some of the first Web-based visualization tools for genome data. At that time, there were only small partial genomes available, and the Web itself was pretty new.

I worked part time at the NRC until finishing my undergrad, then started working full time there as I pursued a Master's in Computing Science. I explored how to build and get scientists to use the next generation of Web technology, called the Semantic Web. Later I moved to Calgary, and took on the position of lead programmer for the Genome Canada Bioinformatics Platform. Here I worked on designing software for a wide array of projects from kidney transplant rejection detection, to identifying fungal enzymes for biofuel production. I got a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, developing new methods for biologists to automate large-scale bioinformatics analysis ("programming-by-example"). Since 2011 I have worked at the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute.

I am motivated by

I get bored fairly easily, and in this job there is always something new. For example, existing wet lab equipment can often answer new questions with the right type of informatics support. Or I might be able to provide support to a researcher who is trying to wring out something novel from an existing method. Additionally, I like to constantly learn, and reading up on the scientific literature is part of the job. There is also a lot of room for integrating data visualization into this kind of work, and I'm very much a visual person.

How I affect people’s lives

The results from the personal genome analyses I produce get used by doctors to develop therapy for some chronically ill patients. Sometimes the results are used to provide genetic counselling for parents (e.g. probability that the disease would recur in a future sibling).

Outside of work I

I enjoy the performing arts, world travel and cooking. Sometimes I write about it for fun on a blog. I help with the coordination of the Engineered Eats Program for Beakerhead. I help with the judging of the Calgary Youth Science Fair. When my schedule permits I participate in Let’s Talk Science’s DNA Day by answering interesting questions posed by students and teachers. I’m a member of the Rotary Club of Calgary and support Habitat for Humanity.

My advice to others

Project confidence, assuming you can back it up with deeds. Probably more important than particular expertise are problem solving skills: knowing what you don't know, and having effective techniques to get up to speed. This will keep you relevant in an ever changing work landscape.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Foreign languages
  • Geography
  • Literature and English language arts
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

Explore Career Profiles

  • Jasmin Chahal headshot

    Jasmin Chahal

    Assistant Professor

    I teach in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at McGill University.
  • Lynn Henderson with German Sheppard dog

    Lynn Henderson (she/her)

    Veterinarian, Clinician, and College Professor

    I am a small animal veterinarian serving animal health in a variety of capacities.
  • Anastasiia Prysyazhnyuk headshot

    Anastasiia Prysyazhnyuk

    Science and Innovation Lead, Health Beyond Initiative

    I explore ways in which science and technology can provide solutions to healthcare problems in space and on Earth.
  • Hayleigh Conway laying on map of NWT and pointing to Inuvik on the map. Taken on GIS Day 2017.

    Hayleigh Conway (she/her)

    Geomatics Technician

    I make maps that help answer questions about the health of the environment in the Western Arctic.
  • Megan Katz headshot

    Megan Katz

    Prosthetic Technician

    Megan is a prosthetic technician who makes and repairs artificial limbs.
  • Dr. Jackie Dawson doing field research on Beechy Island, Nunavut.

    Jackie Dawson (she/her/they)

    Professor and Canada Research Chair

    I work with large teams of academics, Inuit knowledge holders, and decision makers to understand the risks and solutions to environmental change.
  • Katie Harris essayant une combinaison spatiale de simulation au Centre européen des astronautes.

    Katie Harris (she/her)

    Medical Student/Prospective Aerospace Medicine Specialist

    I am working towards a career as an aerospace medicine specialist - a doctor who works with astronauts and keeps them healthy for long missions!
  • Chris Derksen en train de faire ses recherches sur le terrain en Arctique.

    Chris Derksen (he/his)

    Climate Scientist

    I use satellite data and climate models to understand how climate change is impacting snow and ice across Canada.
  • Shari Forbes à l'extérieur du centre de décomposition humaine

    Shari Forbes (she/her/elle)

    Forensic Scientist

    I conduct research to understand how the human body decomposes in our unique Canadian environment.
  • Viviana Ramirez-Luna dehors en hiver

    Viviana Ramirez-Luna (she/her)

    Environmental Entrepreneur

    I founded (and run) a consulting company to help businesses, communities, and organizations reduce the waste they produce
  • Andrew Brereton travaillant à l'ordinateur

    Andrew E. Brereton

    Computational Scientist

    I write code that teaches computers how to design new drugs.
  • Ilias Hader

    Ilias Hader (he/him)

    Artificial Intelligence Consultant & Team Leader

    I help companies take advantage of AI technologies and I manage a team to build an automated food production system for long space missions. 
  • Anaïs Remili tenant un sac de poissons à étudier.

    Anaïs Remili (she/her)

    Whale Researcher

    I am doing research on pollution in killer whales.
  • Edmund Co

    Edmund Co

    Food Scientist

    I use my chemical knowledge to investigate quality complaints and legal issues for the LCBO.
  • Julie Leblanc

    Julie Leblanc (she/her)

    Women in STEM Special Advisor

    My work is to support girls and women to pursue and education and careers in STEM.
  • Rod Russell

    Dr. Rod Russell

    Professor of Virology and Immunology

    I run a research lab where we study viruses and how they cause disease.
  • Ashley Noseworthy avec l'océan derrière elle

    Ashley Noseworthy

    CEO/Founder of Edgewise Environmental

    I own and operate an environmental consultancy that helps companies reduce their underwater noise pollution.
  • Emily Moore

    Emily Moore

    Food Field Application Scientist

    I help members in the agri-food industry find the best analytical solutions to their challenges.
  • Shelina Babul

    Dr. Shelina Babul (she/her)

    Associate Director, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit

    My work covers all causes of injury, from falls, motor vehicle crashes and poisonings to sport-related injuries.
  • Dr. Arinjay Banerjee dans son labo

    Arinjay Banerjee (he/him)

    Research Scientist and Principal Investigator

    I am a scientist and I study how viruses evolve and interact with our immune system.