Shipshaw Labs is a bioinformatics research company based in Montreal which develops software and hardware solutions for the analysis of genomic data.
Leif™ Microbiome Analyzer
The Leif Microbiome Analyzer is a bioinformatics package optimized to analyze microbiomes using unbiased high-throughput sequencing technology (Lipkin 2010). This software rapidly catalogs both known and unknown microbial sequences without any need for cluster computing.
Unlike primer based assays such as IBIS or PCR, Leif is based on an assay which can detect all microbes, even microbes for which primers have not yet been developed. While Leif was designed specifically to survey the microbiome of the human prostate, it performs well with most mixed DNA samples. A beta version is currently available for download.
Prostate Cancer Research
Recent discoveries suggest the presence of an as yet unrecognized microbe which is associated with prostate cancer, yet no complete survey of the prostate microbiome has ever been published. This is partly due to the lack of suitable bioinformatics tools*, which motivated the development of the Leif Microbiome Analyzer.
Important peer reviewed articles related to the prostate microbiome and its association with prostate cancer:
Research directly linked to Shipshaw Labs' findings:
*A second bioinformatics toolkit similar to Leif was unveiled on June 4th, 2014: Naccache et al (2014).