EDDU: Resources for researchers


We combine our capabilities with those of our partners to:

  1. Use iPSCs and iPSC-derived neurons to study the molecular basis of neurological diseases
  2. Develop new tools and technology in disease modelling and target engagement that will help to identify potential therapies
  3. Translate newly developed assays onto an automated high-throughput platform that can be integrated with preclinical drug screens

Mini brain in petri dish, seen on video screen

Multidimensional iPSC-derived models

  • 2D models: Neurons (cortical, dopaminergic, motor, sensory), astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia
  • 3D models: Forebrain organoids, cerebral organoids, midbrain organoids

Mini brain as seen under microscope

Robust disease models

  • iPSCs from healthy individuals and from patients with neurological disorders
  • Core areas include Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and intellectual disability/autism spectrum disorders

Organoid as viewed under microscope.

Quality control

  • Industry-level standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Established quality control pipeline
  • Comprehensive one-on-one and group training offered in house and sponsored by STEMCELL Technologies


Carol Xiuqing Chen leads the  iPSC phenotyping and CRISPR editing Working Group.

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.

iPSC phenotyping

  • Optimization of growth media and passaging reagents
  • Quality control testing including chromosomal integrity, morphological features, pluripotency marker expression, microbiology/virus screening

CRISPR editing

  • Genetic knockin or knockout (KO) in control lines
  • Correction of disease-associated mutations in patient lines

Antibody Validation and CRISPR KO

Mathilde Chaineau is part of the Discovery assays and screens Working Group.

Discovery assays and screens

Automation is driving research forward at the EDDU.

By using automated equipment, this working group is acquiring more data as we apply our assays in iPSC-derived cells to high-content screening of libraries of 4-6K compounds.

Automated image acquisition and analysis

  • Optimization of immunofluorescence-based assays
  • Established workflow for data management
  • Open-source software developed in house to enhance data analysis

Compound screening for multiple disease areas:

  • Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies
  • Neuromuscular diseases
  • Neurodevelopmental diseases

Researcher leaving notes on plexiglass to share information.

Organoids and tissue engineering

Mini brains are shaking up our perspective on the human brain at the EDDU.

Taking iPSC-derived neurons beyond two dimensions has allowed this working group to establish the EDDU’s minibrain program. The team is using multiple approaches to characterize 3D organoid models, while also exploring innovative 3D culturing systems.

3D model development

  • Multiple tissue types: forebrain, midbrain, cerebral
  • Customizable batch numbers (20 to 500) and age (15 days to 100+ days)

Histology and 3D imaging

  • Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence microscopy
  • Novel approaches including CLARITY and light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM)

Organoid maintenance and quality control

  • 10K minibrain capacity in organoid-specific incubators
  • Dedicated team oversees day-to-day monitoring of each individual organoid using a Library 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
  • Isolation of single cells from organoids for replating or analysis using our BD FACsAria II Flow Sorter
  • Pipeline for single-cell expression analysis of specific cell types within organoids

Researcher with student

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

One-on-one hands-on training

  • Intensive hands-on instruction offered by our iPSC experts

Open protocols

  • Development of openly available protocols for culturing iPSCs and differentiating iPSCs into specific cell types

iPSC Seminar Series

  • Bi-monthly seminars by trainees and leading experts in the field
  • Sponsorship provided by STEMCELL Technologies

Watch for news on upcoming workshops and seminars on our Open Science Events feed.



Read blog posts from Thomas Durcan, the EDDU’s Associate Director, on his Open Lab Notebook.

Blog icon
Thomas Durcan's Open Lab Notebook | Read the notebook |Meet Tom


Read our protocols to learn from our experience. Our protocols are open and freely available for download from Zenodo.

Publications & Posters

Read our publications and the posters we have presented at scientific meetings. Our publications and posters are open and available for download.

  • PDF download
    Patient-Derived Stem Cells, Another in vitro Model, or the Missing Link Toward Novel Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders?
    Link to publication

  • PDF download
    One Step Into the Future: New iPSC Tools to Advance Research in Parkinson's Disease and Neurological Disorders
    Link to publication

  • PDF download
    Disruption of GRIN2B Impairs Differentiation in Human Neurons
    Link to publication

  • PDF download
    Open Science Meets Stem Cells: A New Drug Discovery Approach for Neurodegenerative Disorders
    Link to publication

  • PDF download
    The Neuroprotective Role of Protein Quality Control in Halting the Development of Alpha-Synuclein Pathology
    Link to publication

  • PDF download
    Standardized quality control workflow for analyzing the quality and differentiation potential of human iPSCs
    Static PDF

  • PDF download
    Generation of human midbrain organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells
    Link to publication

  • PDF download
    Using stem cells to study the effects of cannabis on neuronal development
    Link to publication

  • Implementation of an Antibody characterization pipeline- McPherson lab
    Link to publication


Use our software to accelerate your data analysis. Our software will be open and freely available for download.

  • Download software


Contact us to find out how our infrastructure can help you with your research.

Researcher working with Flow Cytometry equipment
Flow Cytometry and Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

Analyze and sort cells in our dedicated flow facility.


Researcher working with high content screening equipment
Drug Discovery and Screening

Optimize cell-based assays and small molecule screens with our automated high-content screening (HCS) platform.

neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Drug%20Discovery%20and%20Screening%3A%20Website%20enquiry) (Email us)


neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca (Contact us) about using our biological materials for your research, including:
  • CRISPR knockout cells
    CRISPR knockout cells (non-stem cells only)

  • iPS cells
    iPSC catalogue

    (C-BIG Repository)

  • Healthy control- and patient-derived mini brains
    Healthy control- and patient-derived mini brains (live or fixed sections)

  • Purified human alpha-synuclein protein
    Purified human α-synuclein protein

Seminar Series

Contact rosalind.roberts [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Rosalind Roberts) to join the mailing list for the iPSC Seminar Series and to let us know if you are interested in giving a talk.

COMING SOON: Experience presentations from the iPSC Seminar Series from anywhere in the world with live streaming.



Researchers gather around laptop to share information

We are part of Open Science at The Neuro

We believe in freely sharing data and materials to speed up drug discovery and engage in the following Open Science activities:

  1. Open data - Publishing in open-access journals
  2. Open access - Sharing protocols and providing training
  3. Open intellectual property - Promoting open partnerships with industry
  4. Open sharing - Making our reagents available

Take action today: 



Email or call us to schedule a visit of the EDDU and to meet the team.

Early Drug Discovery Unit
The Neuro
3801 University
North Wing B150
Montreal, QC H3A 2B4
neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Website%20Enquiry%3A%20Interested%20in%20visiting%20Neuro%20EDDU) (Email us)

Entrance to EDDU at 3801 University

Google Maps


Interested in partnering with us? neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca (Email us) 


Want to join our team? Visit Neuro Careers for available positions.

For undergraduate positions, please email neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca (Lenore Beitel).


If you would like to support our work, visit Neuro Giving for more information.

Get involved

Want to get involved? neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca (Email us) to find out how you can: 

  • Develop your own Open Lab Notebook
  • Create your own iPSC protocol
  • Build new software for analyzing iPSCs and iPSC-derived neurons
  • Give a talk at our iPSC Seminar Series


The Neuro logo McGill logoMcGill University Health Centre logoKillam logo

The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering the highest quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.