What We Do
We combine our capabilities with those of our partners to:
- Use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-derived neurons to study the molecular basis of neurological diseases
- Develop new tools and technology in disease modelling and target engagement that will help to identify potential therapies
- Translate newly developed assays onto an automated high-throughput platform that can be integrated with preclinical drug screens
Cilia, iPSC-Derived Neurons, and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Watch this video to learn about the work being done at the EDDU with iPSC-derived neurons and brain organoids to understand the role of cilia in neurodevelopmental disorders.
- iPSC phenotyping and CRISPR editing
- Disease Mechanisms and Discovery Assays
- Brain Organoids and 3D Cultures
- Training and outreach
iPSC phenotyping and CRISPR editing
iPSCs are at the heart of research at the EDDU.
This working group is responsible for characterizing iPSC lines that come through the EDDU to ensure that only high-quality iPSCs are used in our research projects. The group is further expanding their library of iPSC lines by generating gene-edited versions using CRISPR technology.
- Optimization of growth media and passaging reagents
- Quality control testing including chromosomal integrity, morphological features, pluripotency marker expression, microbiological/viral screening
- Genetic knockin or knockout (KO) in control lines
- Correction of disease-associated mutations in patient lines
Antibody Validation and CRISPR KO
Disease Mechanisms and Discovery Assays
Automation is driving research forward at the EDDU.
With state-of-the-art equipment, this group is working to bring our assays with iPSC-derived cells into screenable 2D and 3D formats.
"In-house" tools for image acquisition and analysis
- Optimization of immunofluorescence-based assays
- Established workflow for data management
- Open-source software developed in house to enhance data analysis
Focus on multiple disease areas:
- Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies
- Neuromuscular diseases
- Neurodevelopmental diseases
- Neuroimmune and Neuroinflammation
Brain Organoids and 3D Cultures
3D neuronal organoids are shaking up our perspective on the human brain.
Taking iPSC-derived neurons beyond two dimensions has allowed this group to establish the EDDU’s organoid program. The team is applying multiple approaches to characterize 3D neuronal organoid models, while also exploring innovative 3D culturing systems.
3D model development
- Multiple tissue types: forebrain, midbrain, cerebral
- Customizable batch numbers (100 to 700) and age (15 days to 100+ days)
Histology and 3D imaging
- Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence microscopy
- Parafilm embedding and microtome sections
- Cubic tissue clearing
- Methods for automated 3D imaging on Opera Phenix HCs
Organoid maintenance and quality control
- 15K minibrain capacity in organoid-specific incubators
- Dedicated team oversees day-to-day monitoring of each individual organoid using a Laboratory Information Monitoring System (LIMS)
Single cell phenotyping
- Comprehensive analysis of individual cell types in organoids using our state-of-the-art, automated Attune Acoustic Flow Analyzer
- Workflow for isolation of single cells from organoids for flow analysis or single-cell sequencing analysis
- Informatics pipeline for handling single-cell expression data of specific cell types within organoids
Training and outreach
Train and learn with us at the EDDU.
Our Training and Outreach working group is involved in a variety of activities designed to help researchers learn how to use iPSCs in their projects, and to provide opportunities for them to engage with others in the iPSC field.
“Introduction to iPSCs” hands-on workshops
- Lectures and hands-on training for working with iPSCs
- Trainers from the EDDU and STEMCELL Technologies
- Sponsorship provided by McGill’s Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) and STEMCELL Technologies
- Our second virtual workshop took place in January 2022.
Access to virtual training resources
- Through the Neuro YouTube channel you can access videos of our iPSC protocols in up to six different languages to learn how to culture iPSCs and iPSC-derived neural cells.
- Development of openly available protocols for culturing iPSCs and differentiating iPSCs into specific cell types
- Visit our data portal for more information about our iPSC protocols
Open access software
- Development of openly available software to accelerate data analysis
- To learn more about our software, visit our data portal
Undergraduate training opportunities
- Opportunities for undergraduate students to work within the EDDU
- Mentored by senior researcher with opportunities for projects from stem cells to developing image analysis software. Contact lenore.beitel [at] mcgill.ca (Dr. Lenore Beitel) for further information on how you can join the team.
Watch for news on upcoming workshops and seminars on our Open Science Events feed.