Biodiversity Centre of the Plant Biology Research Institute (IRBV)

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec
What the facility does

High-throughput DNA screening and other molecular biology approaches to identify and characterize plant, animal and insect species and their functions; development of bio-products and phytotechnologies; biodiversity informatics; biological pest management; ecological and environmental studies; and ethnobotany.

Areas of expertise

Part of IRBV, the Biodiversity Centre was established, in large part, thanks to a CFI infrastructure grant. It is located at the Montréal Botanical Garden. Researchers at the Centre and IRBV conduct molecular biology, microscopy, field ecology and other studies centred on plants, insects and fungi (the latter, with particular focus on mycorrhizal fungi). High-throughput molecular approaches are applied when appropriate (e.g. to identify and characterize large numbers of fungi). The Centre also hosts the headquarters of the Canadensys biodiversity informatics network ( The Centre and IRBV have comprehensive expertise and equipment to assist researchers and companies in a wide array of R&D projects, from biodiversity data mining, ecological and environmental research, genomics and gene-function studies to high-end electron microscopy. A current project studies symbiotic pairings of plants and mycorrhizal fungi to accelerate the remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. The issue is tackled through a variety of approaches ranging from genomics to bio-product field testing. The Centre also holds research collections of insects, plants and fungi, linking molecular research with both classical and digitized taxonomy.

Research services

Proof of concept/ proof of commercial concept, product enhancement, modelling, simulation, field testing, beta and alpha testing, biological products, phytoremediation/ bioremediation, biological management of plant insect pests and diseases, molecular and classical biology, traditional medicine and pharmacology, genomics, biodiversity data mining

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Clean technology
  • Environmental technologies and related services
Three Tecan Evo liquid-handling robots (DNA extraction, PCR preparation and post-PCR analysis)Each laboratory at the Centre specializes in a particular function or step in the molecular-biology research process: DNA extraction, microbiological isolation and culture, PCR, post-PCR analysis, microscopy, etc.
Large number of PCR and qPCR machines 
Various electrophoresis equipment, centrifuges and optical readers 
Large number of microscopes, including fluorescence stereomicroscopes (one with micromanipulation platform), and confocal and electron microscopes, including FEI scanning electron microscope with focused ion beam 
Chromatography and protein expression and purification equipment (HPLCs, FPLCs) 
Spectroscopy; fluorescence, chemiluminescence and radioactivity imaging 
Level II microbiological safety cabinets and clean bench culture cabinets 
Incubators, freezers, fridges, plant tissue culture facility, growth cabinets and research greenhouses