Core facilities

The Centre de recherche du CHUM provides personalized services and the latest equipment to support researchers in their research protocols.

Over the past year, we have structured and consolidated our infrastructure in the main CRCHUM building at 900 Saint-Denis Street in Montréal. Our facilities have nine scientific platforms, with the bio-informatics and biobanks platforms currently under development. These service platforms are equipped with the latest biomedical research technology. Our highly qualified staff provide training, technical and scientific support as well as assistance with protocol development and analysis of results. These complete services are available at a competitive price for researchers from universities, hospitals and industry.

 

CRCHUM platform highlights in 2015-2016

  

scientific platforms

  

clients-researchers

  

pieces of equipment available in self-serve mode

  

million invested in platforms

  

million income from services rendered

  

samples analysed

Animal supply facility

CRCHUM has an ultramodern animal supply facility to house many animal species. The specialized accommodations include facilities for large species, rodents and fish, and support containment level 2 studies.

In April 2016, the assessment committee of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) visited the CRCHUM animal supply facility and renewed the Certificate of Good Animal Practice, noting the outstanding quality of our animal care program.

“Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease that requires studies on animals to validate observations made in vitro. The technical and scientific assistance of CRCHUM’s animal supply facility is very valuable for conducting our experiments to identify the adhesion molecules involved in transmigration of encephalitogenic leukocytes, so they can be pharmacologically targeted. This would prevent immune cell migration in the central nervous system, and thus provide a much more specific therapy for patients. The transgenesis and animal modelling platform also provides a cryopreservation service for our mouse strains, which is uncommon for an animal supply facility.”

Dr. Alexandre Prat, neurologist and CRCHUM researcher

Cytometry, cellular imaging and molecular pathology

CRCHUM’s cytometry, cellular imaging and molecular pathology platform delivers a full range of services for cellular analysis. Cytometry supports multi-parameter analysis of cells and other particles, while the imaging laboratory provides high-grade expertise in microscopy, and the molecular pathology laboratory provides support in histology and pathology. By combining all our services, research teams can obtain a very complete analysis of their samples on a single site.

“The services available from the cytometry, cellular imaging and molecular pathology platform play a key role in my research team’s studies, giving us access to the latest techniques for studying complex immunological and virological mechanisms. The staff in this platform have made a major contribution to studies requiring the sorting of rare blood cell populations from patients infected with HIV. I am very satisfied with the support provided by employees of the platform, who not only provide high quality technical assistance but also contribute to very thorough training for members of my team in cytometry and microscopy.”

Dr. Daniel Kaufmann, CRCHUM researcher

Experimental imaging

Combining expertise in biomedical engineering and medicine, CRCHUM’s experimental imaging platform provides high technology medical imaging equipment and services dedicated to research on animals and humans. This platform has a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and an angiography system for research. We also use the ultramodern clinical research and animal supply (animal surgery and accommodation) facilities.

“CRCHUM’s imaging platform, which combines an angiography room with a Tesla MRI 3 in an integrated configuration, is the only one of its kind in North America for research on large animals. We have been able to advance very innovative concepts in radiation treatment such as development of new endovascular biomaterials for treating aortic aneurisms or MRI-guided nanotherapeutic magnetic agents to treat liver tumours.”

Dr. Gilles Soulez, CRCHUM researcher

Containment level 3 (CL3)

CRCHUM’s containment level 3 (CL3) platform allows research teams to safely conduct studies on infectious diseases and safely handle certain pathogenic agents in risk group 3. Our facilities include eight culture rooms dedicated to various research programs.

“I am extremely satisfied with CRCHUM’s CL3 platform, which has the latest technology and is safe and highly functional. This platform enabled my research team to generate large quantities of data with infectious material in record time. In my opinion, this platform is one of the best in North America.”

Andrés Finzi, CRCHUM researcher

Rodent phenotyping

The services provided by CRCHUM’s phenotyping platform focus on optimizing personalized experimental models and developing protocols for use of animals. This platform consists of three laboratories: cardiovascular, behavioural and metabolic phenotyping. The cardiovascular phenotyping laboratory specializes in imaging, telemetry and in vivo surgery on rodents. The behavioural phenotyping laboratory targets the study of behaviours in rats and mice, especially learning, memory and motor activity linked to food. The metabolic phenotyping laboratory provides a range of services unique in Canada for studying glucide and energy metabolism.

“The rodent phenotyping platform provides a wide range of sophisticated in vivo techniques, especially clamps for measuring insulin action and secretion in mice. Few centres in the world have mastered these technologies and the highly qualified staff have always produced quality results for my laboratory.”

Marc Prentki, CRCHUM researcher

Mass spectrometry and surface plasmon resonance

CRCHUM’s mass spectrometry and surface plasmon resonance platform delivers specialized bioanalysis services. Its expertise ranges from measuring natural metabolites (e.g. amino acids) and small molecules (e.g. drugs) to measuring molecular interactions.

 

This platform consists of three laboratories:

Metabolomics and cellular physiology

Pharmacokinetics

Surface plasmon resonance

 

“The pharmacokinetics platform has played a leading role in my experiments throughout this year. My laboratory is studying the basic pharmacology and neurochemistry of the ganglia under physiological and pathological conditions, especially motor disorders and Parkinson’s disease.”

Philippe Huot, CRCHUM researcher

Transgenesis and animal modelling

CRCHUM’s transgenesis and animal modelling platform enables researchers to create genetically modified animals. Our team provides researchers with the necessary support to establish and maintain their animal colonies. Each year, these ultra-specialized services draw researchers from across Quebec and beyond.

CRCHUM also provides techniques with the latest technology through its genome publishing platform. Using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, we can introduce modifications and manipulate the genome of mice and rats.

“CRCHUM’s transgenesis and animal modelling platform allowed our team to establish and maintain several colonies of genetically modified animals, which are crucial to our research program. The team’s attention to detail, availability and professionalism have made a strong contribution to the success of many of our laboratory’s projects. These seasoned, highly qualified professionals provide unique expertise at CRCHUM.”

Mélanie Dieudé, CRCHUM researcher