Facilities

We are located on the main St. George campus at the University of Toronto within the Medical Sciences Building and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology on the 6th floor. The laboratory is in the heart of the Toronto Discovery District and close proximity to the University of Toronto-affiliated research hospital institutes.

Our research laboratory is split into a main research facility (~1000 sq ft), a crystallization lab (~500 sq ft), and two biosafety level-2 tissue culture facilities for virus studies. The laboratory is well-equipped for structural and functional studies.

*Note: We will be moving into a brand-new open-concept research lab space on the 6th floor of the Medical Sciences Building in fall 2017.IMG_2599

Protein expression and purification- We have six temperature-controlled orbital shakers for large-scale bacterial, yeast and insect cell expression (40+ litres at any one time). In addition, we have two full cell-culture facilities containing 2 tissue culture hoods, 4 CO2 incubators, and bioreactor for mammalian expression. An automated Constant Systems cell disruption system (up to 40 kpsi) and Centramate tangential flow filtration apparatus is available for lysing cells and/or concentrating dilute samples, respectively. Multiple AKTA FPLC Purifiers at room temperature and 4 degree are available for protein purification.IMG_2596.JPG

Protein characterization and crystallization- Our lab has a full suite of in-house equipment to characterize proteins and protein-protein interactions for crystallization:  ForteBio BLItz biolayer interferometry, Wyatt high throughput dynamic light scattering plate reader, Wyatt multi-angle light scattering coupled to an Akta Pure FPLC at 4 degree, TA Instruments nano-isothermal titration calorimeter, Jasco J-1500 circular dichroism spectrometer, and Bio-Rad C1000 RT-PCR for Thermofluor assays. Moreover, we have the entire array of robotics for crystallization, including a state-of-the-art Douglas Instruments Oryx 8 liquid handling robot for microseeding and crystallization experiments, liquid handling robot for crystallization condition optimization (Art Robbins Scorpion), FRAP-fluorescence microscope system for LCP optimization and trace fluorescence labeling of crystals, and a fully automated UV imaging system (Formulatrix UV Rock Imager 1000). The lab also has numerous incubators and microscopes for crystallization experiments. In addition, every member of the lab has a Mac for structural computations.

Structural studies- The University of Toronto has multiple state-of-the-art X-ray diffraction systems (high flux Rigaku FR-E Superbright Cu and Cr sources) for in-house screening and data collection of protein crystals. In addition, our lab has excellent access to powerful synchrotron X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source (APS, Chicago, IL), National Synchrotron Light Source-II (BNL, Brookhaven, NY) and Canadian Light Source (Saskatoon, SK) for crystallography, and at the Advanced Light Source (ALS, Berkeley, CA) for SAXS.

BSL2+ and BSL3 facilities- We have a separate BSL-2+ tissue culture facility for viral entry and functional assays. In addition, we have a bay in the shared BSL-3 facility at the Medical Sciences Building. The BSL-3 facility is equipped with tissue culture hoods, CO2 incubators, centrifuges, luminometers, and microplate readers. These facilities allow us to perform a wide array of assays with pseudo- and live viruses.IMG_1793

Shared resources- The University of Toronto has excellent equipment and resources for a wide-range of biological studies, including: analytical ultracentrifugation, ICP-MS, flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, peptide synthesis, microscale thermophoresis, electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, DNA sequencing, and BIACore SPR.

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