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The Centre for Phenogenomics
The Centre for Phenogenomics

Services

From development to phenotyping and cryopreservation, our collective expertise allows you to ask more questions and find more answers.

Model Production

We offer tailored services for the production of genetically engineered rodents. From concept to implementation, our staff will assist you in determining the most efficient and economical strategy to meet your specific research goals. Our expertise is built on a legacy of pioneering work with seminal advances by Janet Rossant, Alex Joyner, and Andras Nagy in transgenesis, gene trapping, homologous recombination, and genetic toolbox development. This has resulted in a suite of innovative service technologies such as the production of mouse ES cell chimeras by aggregation and/or Tetraploid Complementation Assay. We now also provide the molecular biology services needed for the production and quality control of both ES cell-derived and endonuclease-mediated (CRISPR/Cas9) mutant mouse models and endonuclease-mediated mutant rat models. Services can be provided à la carte for the experienced rodent researcher or as a full service from model design to production and quality control.

image of samples
Photo credit: K. Vintersten-Nagy, “Manipulating the Mouse Embryo: A Laboratory Manual,” 4th ed. p.303, by R. Behringer et al. ©CSHLP 2014

Animal Holding

Uniquely designed, TCP animal facility offers dedicated disease-free holding areas for both essential breeding colonies of mice (exclusion barrier) and mice that are actively being used in research projects (modified barrier). Mice are maintained in individually ventilated cages with automated water, standardized feed and 24/7 environmental monitoring. Researchers have access to procedure rooms and specialized equipment to perform their studies. These areas are supported by a centralized, fully automated cage wash area for equipment sterilization. The animal facility is fully accredited by the CCAC and OMAFRA and staffed by highly trained Animal Care Attendants and Veterinary Technicians who work under the oversight of a Board Certified Veterinarian.

Clinical Phenotyping

We use a wide range of non- or minimally invasive phenotyping tests to identify dysmorphic or functional abnormalities in mouse models. These assays help define gene function and validate the clinical relevance of a mutant model. A customized panel of tests can be assembled to provide a comprehensive survey to identify single changes or pleiotropic alterations associated with mutations in genes. We offer services to assay neurological systems (behaviour, learning and memory, sensory), organ systems (metabolism, cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, immunology, kidney) and reproduction and development (fertility, viability, embryo phenotyping).

Imaging

The Mouse Imaging Centre (MICe), part of the Hospital for Sick Children, is a joint research effort by four principal investigators and supported by a complement of approximately thirty-five staff and students. The synergy of common research goals and our continuous development and refinement of a state-of-the-art imaging facility has made this one of the best known and most prolific groups worldwide working on mouse imaging. The Centre, which works on a collaborative basis, has been operational since 2002 and employs a broad spectrum of imaging techniques for the evaluation of mouse models that aid in understanding human health and disease. The Centre has imaging capabilities in MRI, micro-CT, high-frequency ultrasound, optical projection tomography, two-photon fluorescence microscopy, and bioluminescence.

Infection and Inflammation

We provide expertise, state-of-the-art infrastructure and services to enable dissection of genetics and complex biological and immunological pathways underlying the host response to pathogens and inflammation. As part of the McGill University Research Centre on Complex Traits , located in the Life Sciences Complex at McGill University, we specialize in the use of infectious, autoimmune and inflammatory disease mouse models relevant to human diseases. Our well-established mouse models of infectious and inflammatory diseases allow researchers to 1) test and characterize human candidate genes and the impact of pathogenic mutations on physiological and immune function in mice, 2) investigate potential pleiotropic effects of specific genetic risk loci, and 3) use mouse models of human infectious and inflammatory diseases to identify and test novel drug therapies.

Photo credit: K. Vintersten-Nagy “Manipulating the Mouse Embryo: A Laboratory Manual’, 4th ed. p.303 by R. Behringer et al. CSHLP 20142003” by A. Nagy et al. CSHLP 2003”
Photo credit: N. Giannakopoulou, S. Gruenheid

Pathology

We offer detailed anatomic pathology services including macroimaging and organ morphometry. For Gross Pathology we provide a routine, complete and system specific post-mortem examination including macroimaging. For the histology laboratory, we provide a full range of histology and immunohistochemistry services which include expert handling, processing, cutting and staining of all frozen and paraffin embedded tissue. Our veterinary pathologists provide specialized diagnostic and research histopathology of all organ systems in embryo, neonatal, and adult tissue. Whole slide scanning and image analysis are available for both brightfield and fluorescently stained tissue samples. In addition, we provide biochemistry analyte analysis, and undecalcified tissue processing and embedding in methylmethacrylate. Our state-of-the-art technology and equipment, standardization of procedures, and dedicated expertise ensures consistent, high quality and timely results.

Cryopreservation & Recovery

We provide cryorecovery, cryopreservation, import and distribution services for mouse lines. As Canada’s national mouse repository (Canadian Mouse Mutant Repository (CMMR)) we archive and distribute the ES cell and mouse line resources produced by Canada’s contribution to large-scale mouse genomics research projects like the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium . Our import and cryorecovery services enable access to thousands of mouse lines stored as frozen sperm or embryos from repositories and institutions around the world (e.g. IMSR ). Our cryopreservation services allow researchers to securely store mouse lines as frozen stock to protect against genetic drift; loss due to breeding cessation, disease or other disasters; or store mouse lines not currently needed as live mice. Once cryopreserved, mouse lines are easy to share with other researchers using our distribution services.