Validation, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI)

Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
What the facility does

Supports the bioproducts, bioscience, bioagriculture and chemical manufacturing sectors through research and innovation, testing and prototyping, and training.

Areas of expertise

The Validation, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI) is a frictionless technology adoption centre designed to provide stakeholders, including industry partners, with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation to address their research and development needs. Technical expertise and innovation at Brock University is integrated with “upstream” scientific equipment partners and “downstream” southern Ontario businesses. The VPMI provides industry with technological solutions and access to highly skilled talent while weaving seamless development and implementation of innovation into the production practices and processes of partner companies. Facilitating collaborations between Brock University researchers and industrial partners increases training opportunities and experiential learning for students and industry personnel involved in the collaborative projects. These partnerships strengthen key clusters of innovation and production for the region, and increased competitiveness and sustainability for small- to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the commercialization of new and innovative technologies, products and processes.

Research services

The facility has a range of equipment that is generally categorized into the following suites:

  • Materials testing and analysis
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Genetic biomarker and cell process
  • Microscopy

VPMI equipment is available to assist with everything from routine characterization and analysis to advanced research and development. Whether your needs involve analytical services or collaborative research projects, the facility has the expertise and equipment to meet your needs.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Mining, minerals and metals
PerkinElmer TGA 8000 thermogravimetric analyzerMeasures the change in mass of a sample over time as a function of heat to determine the thermal stability of materials.
PerkinElmer DSC 8500 differential scanning calorimeterMeasures amount of heat needed to change the sample temperature and thermal changes that occur in samples.
Waters ACQUITY Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) SystemGel permeation chromatograph. Provides molecular weight information for polymer samples. Used for quality control and to study structure-function relationships.
FOSS WineScanWine analyzer. Provides information related to alcohol, sugar, and acid content in finished wine and fruit juices.
Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencing (NGS) systemHigh and low throughput. Permits the rapid sequencing of genetic information in bacteria, yeast and viruses.
Hi-Tech Trader Sonicator, model UIP500hdT-115Uses ultrasonic waves to break up and homogenize biological samples for further analyses.
Agilent 8890 Gas Chromatograph (GC) system with an Agilent PAL3 RTC 120 Autosampler Bundle and a GERSTEL Olfactory Detection Port ODP 3Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry-Olfactometry-(GC-MS/O) system. Separates compounds in a sample, serves to build sample sensory profiles, and allows for targeted analyses. The ODP allows users to smell the isolated compounds
Agilent Seahorse XFe24 AnalyzerMetabolic flux analyzer. Allows for the study of metabolic processes within cells.
Agilent 6560 Ion Mobility Quadrupole Time-of-Flight (IM-Q-TOF) liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS) system with direct analysis in real time (DART) and simplified voltage and pressure (SVP) ion sourceFor surface analysis. Analyze coated substrates and surface components biological samples. Untargeted analyses and identify new compounds.
Agilent 8890A Gas Chromatography Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GC-Q-TOF/MS) system with PAL3 RTC 120 Autosampler Bundle and Zoex ZX2 Thermal ModulatorSeparates and analyzes molecules that can be vaporized without decomposition. Identify new compounds. Untargeted analyses.
Agilent 6470 liquid chromatography triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-QqQ MS) system with an Agilent 1290 Infinity II Evaporative Light Scattering Detector (ELSD)Targeted analysis of known compounds and development of molecular profiles.
Agilent 8890 Gas chromatography system with an Agilent 7010C Triple Quadrupole GC/MS EI/CI BundleGas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) system for targeted molecule analysis and quantitation in gaseous samples and the development of molecular profiles.
Shimadzu LabSolutions TOC-LCSN Total Organic Carbon Analyzer  Measure the amount of organic, inorganic, or total carbon in water or soil samples.
ZEISS LSM 9 spinning disk confocal laser scanning microscopeFluorescence microscopy technique used for the analysis and imaging of live cells and their components.
ZEISS Axio Observer 7 epifluorescence microscopePerform deep, penetration imaging of biological samples, especially cells.
ZEISS EVO 15 Scanning electron microscope (SEM)Scans sample surface with a focused beam of electrons to generate sample image. Determine atomic composition of a surface.
Agilent 6560 Ion Mobility Q-TOF LC/MS system with autosamplerCombines chromatography, ion mobility, and mass spectrometry. For untargeted analyses of unknown samples, identifying new compounds and developing molecular profiles.
Agilent 6470 Triple Quadrupole LC/MS systemLiquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) system useful for targeted analysis of known samples and developing molecular profiles.
ZEISS Axioscan 7 Microscope Slide ScannerScans and analyzes samples affixed to microscope slides with brightfield and fluorescence capabilities.


  • Andrew Peller Limited
  • Cave Spring Vineyard
  • Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc.
  • Destiny Copper
  • IT Force
  • Rasayan Inc.
  • HEXO Corp.
  • Cytodiagnostics Inc.
  • Huxley Health Inc.
  • Steep Hill Inc.
  • Ice Syrup
  • Arbor Life Labs
  • Heritage Cannabis
  • Selective Mutism Foundation
  • Transit Labs Inc.
  • Bornea Dynamics Limited
  • AMO Pharma Ltd.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum
  • Chalk Monkey Labs
  • CannaCure Corporation
  • Sweet & Sticky Inc.
Brock-industry partnership focused on treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (VPMI-industry partnership success story).…
Brock biologist partners with hemp company on natural fertilizer research. (VPMI-industry partnership success story).…