About the EDDU


Accelerating drug discovery
to improve the lives of people with neurological disease

30+ Team members 325+ Users trained 90+ Academic collaborators 160+ iPSCs made 50+ Protocols and training videos

Our Mission

  1. Train the next generation of researchers to work with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)

  2. Translate fundamental research and technology into industry-standard assays

  3. Identify new and improved treatments for neurological disorders


Our Values

At the EDDU, we are active participants in fostering and practicing open science. We work to share scientific knowledge and train the next generation of iPSC scientists, all while following the highest standards in research. We strongly believe that success comes through collaboration and working together, as a means to accelerate the development of new therapies for patients living with brain disorders  

As a group, we are committed to the mission of McGill University and The Neuro to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion in research. We strive for a respectful and diverse working environment and welcome researchers from all backgrounds.

To learn more about EDI at McGill and The Neuro:

Equity at McGill

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion


What We Do

  • Perform iPSC phenotyping, quality control tests, and CRISPR editing

  • Adapt assays with iPSC-derived cells into screenable 2D and 3D formats

  • Develop and characterize 3D neuronal organoid models

  • Develop open-access software and protocols

  • Provide hands-on and virtual training for working with iPSCs and iPSCs-derived neurons and glia

  • Create training videos on the steps involved in working with the iPSC technology


We work at the Neuro's EDDU! 


EDDU Spotlight Video

Watch our latest video to learn more about our work being done at the EDDU.

CRISPR with Michael and Zhipeng

Watch our video to learn more about how we apply CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to generate cell lines towards understanding the processes involved in different neurological conditions.

This video is also available with French subtitles!


Read our Newsletter

Click below to read our monthly newsletter and learn about exciting new updates happening at the EDDU.

Sign up for our newsletter and general news, here.

Next issue coming in May 2024!

PDF icon EDDU Newsletter Spring 2024


A Short History of the Early Drug Discovery Unit



The EDDU got a lot done in 2023, holding its third virtual iPSC training workshop in partnership with Stem Cell technologies, as well as 6 iPSC seminars with experts from around the world presenting their latest finding. On our end, we helped to publish 12 open-access papers with 7 more pre-prints online and in review, along with a new open-access protocol, and a number of new posters presented at conferences throughout the year. In November we attended the Canadian Network of Scientific Platforms Meeting and rounded out the year attending the ALS/MND symposium in Switzerland!

The EDDU also formed key partnerships, joining the TRIDENT initiative thanks to $24 million over seven years in new funding through The New Frontiers in Research Fund (https://healthenews.mcgill.ca/mcgill-partners-with-western-university-to...). Our Director of Thomas Durcan, a co-PI on the project, leads the iPSC testing platform, and working with teams from Western, U. of Toronto and UBC towards identifying therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.  Other new partnerships included the G-CAN initiative (https://www.mcgill.ca/neuro/article/research/neurodegenerative-gene-focu...), thanks in part to funding from the Weston foundation and Van Berkom foundation, with the EDDU members helping to generate new mutant GBA iPSCs and developing new assays and therapeutics towards targeting GBA in Parkinson’s. With these partnerships, the EDDU goes from strength to strength, and during 2023 we looked beyond our current space, setting up a strategic partnership with IRCM, in which we have now established a new satellite site dedicated to IRCM and EDDU stem cell focused projects. More to come in 2024.

We also have to congratulate Carol Chen, a senior member of the EDDU and manager of our IPSC colonies who, was awarded one of the 2023 Champion Award for Research Staff at the Neuro for her efforts in Open Science research.

So all in all, lots of work, some fun times as a team and a renewed focus for the year ahead.


2021 - 2022


2022 started well with Thomas Durcan becoming the new Director of the EDDU. Also, at the beginning of the year we held our second virtual iPSC training workshop in partnership with Stem Cell technologies, with great success.

In 2022, we continued to build fruitful partnerships and we are grateful for the generous support we have received from The Neuro’s TOSI Grassroots Initiative. With this support, we grew our outreach and training videos portfolio with seven new outreach videos, two new training videos, and all our training videos now translated to Spanish and Portuguese.

We also received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to develop an “Automated 3D brain organoid imaging platform” for discovery and translational activities. 

Over the course of the year, we hosted five iPSC seminars, with four of which were virtual, and one being our first in-person seminar in nearly three years. With the return of in-person conferences, we were able to attend the SfN2022 in San Diego! We also published ten open-access papers, one book chapter and two updated open-access protocols. 

This year, we also said goodbye to some dear lab members, and also welcomed new members to our team.


With the lab now back open, the EDDU embraced the hybrid in person-virtual life of a scientist with the iPSC seminar series continuing in a virtual manner growing to over 80 attendees for each meeting. We held our first virtual iPSC training workshop in partnership with Stem Cell technologies, published six open-access papers, one book chapter and one new open-access SOP. 

Underlining all the new initiatives and work coming from the EDDU, we launched an updated version of the website, with a new data portal with open science video protocols for anyone, anywhere in the world to be able to work with iPSCs in the same manner as we do. With versions in English and French now available, new languages are in development and will be coming online in the coming months as our virtual offerings increase. 

With new funding, new personnel and new projects coming online or nearing completion, this has been a year of significant growth as the EDDU builds towards the future and next decade.


2019 - 2020


Like many other labs, on March 19th 2020 the EDDU lab was shut down with everyone working from home. While staying apart, the group stayed together through all virtual means possible and on May 25th, after being closed for 3 months, we reopened the lab. Over the next 6 months, team members started returning in a phased manner. New protocols were implemented, lab work was restarted and, by the end of the year, projects were brought to a natural conclusion and new ones had been started. Through the extended time at home, the team put our hands and brains together to write. The EDDU´s team published nine open-access SOPs and three reviews.


The EDDU held its second iPSC training workshop, published 2 open-access review articles (bringing their total to 3), and launched a blog on Open Lab Notebooks to share protocols and expertise. The iPSC/CRISPR Platform is now known as The Neuro's Early Drug Discovery Unit (EDDU) to encompass all the activities that are part of the group.


2017 - 2018


The work of the iPSC/CRISPR Platform is featured on The Neuro's Neuro XXceptional series and in the media, with coverage from Global News Morning Montreal, Radio Canada, and McGill Med e- News.


The EDDU held its second iPSC training workshop, published 2 open-access review articles (bringing their total to 3), and launched a blog on Open Lab Notebooks to share protocols and expertise.


2015 - 2016


New industry partnerships and philanthropic gifts to The Neuro allow the iPSC/CRISPR Platform to expand its research focus to ALS and intellectual disabilities.


The iPSC/CRISPR Platform is launched at The Neuro with an initial focus on Parkinson’s disease, thanks to a generous $1 million gift from Mr. J. Sebastian van Berkom, and partnerships with Brain Canada, Laval University, Marigold Foundation and the Quebec Parkinson Network.



Contact Us

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

Early Drug Discovery Unit
The Neuro
3801 University
North Wing B150
Montreal, QC H3A 2B4


For general inquiries: Email us at neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca

For career and training opportunities: Contact Genevieve Dorval by genevieve.dorval [at] mcgill.ca (email).

For operations and lab oversight: Contact Genevieve Dorval by genevieve.dorval [at] mcgill.ca (email).

For accessing iPSCs: Please email us at neuroeddu.mni [at] mcgill.ca.

Visit our Instagram and LinkedIn for more information about work being done at the EDDU.

​Sign up to receive our newsletter and general news, here

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Collaborate with Us

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

Join Us

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

For training and staff positions, please email genevieve.dorval [at] mcgill.ca (Genevieve Dorval).

Support Us

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

The Neuro logo McGill logoMcGill University Health Centre logoKillam Laureates


The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-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.



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