Cystic Fibrosis Translational Research Centre (CFTRc)

McGill University, Montréal, Québec
What the facility does

Research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis

Areas of expertise

We perform basic and applied research on cystic fibrosis and other diseases that affect epithelial tissues. We study the cellular and molecular physiology of transepithelial salt and water transport, explore the regulation of CFTR and other ion channels, characterize folding and misfolding of CFTR mutants, examine the cell biology of CFTR, especially its trafficking, and work with partners to develop new therapeutics for cystic fibrosis.

We have collaborated with five companies on different projects related to cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Research services

Airway epithelial-cell primary culture, Patch clamp and microelectrodes, High-throughput electrophysiology using the QPatch platform, Conventional Ussing chamber studies of CF mice, Fluorescence imaging, Luminometry, Molecular biology, Biochemistry

Sectors of application
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Specialized lab



Primary culture

A dedicated cell-culture facility to isolate and culture lung cells from tissue obtained from donors and CF patients during transplantation

Cells are used to prepare highly differentiated monolayers in primary cell culture or are placed in cryostorage for future use

Patch clamp and microelectrodes

Fully equipped manual patch clamp and microelectrode rigs, with fluorescence microscopes, perfusion chambers with automated switching, low-noise amplifiers, computers, pipette pullers and polisher, vibration control

Detailed characterization of transepithelial, whole-cell and single-channel currents

High-throughput electrophysiology

QPatch 16X Automated Electrophysiology Platform

Automated, medium-throughput assays of whole-cell current with Giga-Ohm seal resistance

Conventional Ussing chamber studies for voltage clamp, pH-stat and transepithelial impedance measurement

18 channels of conventional Ussing chambers with amplifiers and computers for data acquisition and analysis

Measuring transepithelial ion transport and barrier function using cell monolayers and mouse intestine

CF mice

F508del-CFTR mice (Cftrtm1Eur) on FVB background from B. Scholte and colleagues, cftr null mice on Balb/c background

Characterization of CF phenotype and in vivo studies of inflammation and infection

Fluorescence imaging

Laser-scanning inverted microscope (Zeiss 780), Zeiss spinning disc/TIRF combination, laser scanning upright microscope (Zeiss 700), ratiometric wide-field imaging systems (Olympus/PTI inverted and Zeiss Axioexaminer upright)

Quantitative imaging of protein and vesicle dynamics, measurement of intracellular and extracellular pH, Ca2+, etc., with fluorescence indicators

Radioisotope facility

Scintillation counter

Tracer flux and other isotope studies



CTV News interview, John Hanrahan

Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator Function Laboratory - McGill University

Tackling genetic disease interview, David Thomas

Cystic fibrosis, a paradigm of conformational diseases, Gergely Lukacs


McGill opens doors wide for cystic fibrosis research (page 12)