Provincial funding announcements usually attract a few media outlets and a selection of
the parties affected by the actual funding. It's not often members of the public feel the
desire to squeeze into small rooms with open microphones.

But for Jean-Paul Paterlini, yesterday's announcement of $50 million in funding for
Genome B.C. was motivation enough to drive down from Cowichan Bay, as the money
will help fuel research into something close to his heart — transplantation.

Seventeen months ago Paterlini, 62, underwent a heart transplant, and he's the first to
admit that without it there's no chance he would have been around to hear the
announcement at the Vancouver Island Technology Park.

"Yes this is very personal, it's important, this kind of funding saves lives," he said. "It
prolongs the life of certain people and those people have a chance to see their kids
growing and their grandchildren growing.

"I am still not 100 per cent of what I used to be before my heart attack, but at least I'm
alive and physically well and I function normally."

Paterlini is the human face of the impact made by the study of life science and DNA,
which for most people happens in laboratories well away from the glare of everyday life.

"The average person doesn't see the impact, but it's there in every sector," said Alan
Winter, president and CEO of Genome B.C., noting the organization funds research into
such diverse areas as health care, forestry, mining, agriculture, the environment and
ethics.

As far as Paterlini's concerned, the fact his new heart has been beating for 17 months is
testament to the kind of research funded by Genome B.C.

Genome B.C. is one of six Genome Canada centres across the country which invests in
and manages large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects. Its funding comes
from the provincial government and Genome Canada, which is then leveraged with
private-sector investment to carry out the research.

"We're thrilled with this announcement, this will make a huge difference for us," said
Winter. "We are like a biotech company, and when you raise money for a company you
have to have a lead investor so you can then go out and talk to other investors.

"So this announcement represents the lead investor for our plan for 2010 to 2015. What
we have to do is go and raise the rest of the money."

Winter said they hope to raise another $150 million to fund research through 2015.

According to Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell, the province has invested
$152.5 million in Genome B.C. since 2002 and considers it money well spent.

"We feel the investment has paid off many times, not just in terms of the jobs but in
leveraging research funds in helping British Columbians in leading healthier and better
lives," he said, noting research is currently being done on producing new sources of
biofuels, reducing the use of chemical pesticides, tailoring medication to individual
patients, dealing with the mountain pine beetle infestation and improving the success of
organ transplants.

The province estimates Genome B.C.'s economic benefit is in the neighbourhood of
8,400 person-years of work, $450 million added to the province's GDP and tax revenues
in excess of $108 million.

Earlier this month the federal government provided $600,000 in funding for the
University of Victoria Genome B.C. Proteomic Centre to advance research in
metabolomics, a study of cellular-level activity.