Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC)

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec
What the facility does

An ultra-modern research hub and training centre to accelerate the discovery of new, more effective cancer treatments

Areas of expertise

The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer's (IRIC) operating model is unique in Canada. The research institute offers a multidisciplinary approach focused on systems biology and works in close collaboration with the clinical sector. Its cutting-edge environment and research infrastructure provide researchers with access to 13 core facilities and research tools seldom found in an academic context. IRIC has adopted an innovative approach for training tomorrow’s researchers, and was the first institution in Canada to set up a graduate study program in systems biology. It also implemented the first Canadian discovery chain for anticancer drugs in an academic setting, with IRICoR, an IRIC subsidiary that establishes partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies in order to commercialize new discoveries.

Research services

Animal facility, bioimaging, bioinformatics, biophysics, medicinal chemistry, high-throughput screening, flow cytometry, genomics, histology, recombinant proteins and antibodies, proteomics, transgenesis, IRIC and Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont jointly support the operation of the cytogenetics core facility of the Banque de cellules leucémiques du Québec (BCLQ – Quebec leukemia cell bank).

Sectors of application
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Specialized lab



AJMC animal facility


IRIC has one of the largest animal facilities in Canada with a pathogen-free sector, a conventional sector and an independent quarantine sector. In addition to providing animal housing and technical and veterinary support for research and animal health, IRIC’s animal facility works together with the biopharmacy facility at Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Pharmacy to offer services in pharmacokinetics, bioanalysis and toxicology. See

Bioinformatics core facility


Array of bioinformatics analysis and consultation services

Bioimaging core facility

1. Leica MZ FLIII fluorescence stereomicroscope

2. Leica DMIRB inverted microscope

3. DeltaVision Elite inverted microscope

4. Zeiss Axio-Imager Z 1 microscope

5. Nikon swept field confocal (SFC) microscope

6. Zeiss LSM 510 Meta confocal microscope

7. Nikon A1R confocal microscope

8. Imaging analysis stations (3) equipped with the following software: NIS-Elements (Nikon), Metamorph (Molecular Devices), softWoRX suite (Applied Precisions), ImageJ (NIH) and IMARIS (BitPlane)

9. Desktop publishing station equipped with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign as well as a colour printer for producing high-quality prints



Biophysics core facility

1. 600 MHz Varian Unity Inova spectrometer

a. Four RF channels capable of performing multiple resonance and advanced multidimensional experiments (up to 4D)

b. 5 mm triple-resonance probe used for studying biomolecules, capable of 2H decoupling

c. 5 mm broadband probe capable of detecting nuclei 15N to 31P

d. HCN cold probe: ideal for protein/RNA analysis; default probe on the 600 MHZ system

2. MR 400 MHz Varian Automation System

a. Automated analysis of up to 96 samples

b. Two RF channels

c. 5 mm OneNMR probe for greater sensitivity of 1H and 13C

d. Nuclei detection (15N to 31P)

3. Linux cluster running on four servers and six dual-processor work stations (Opteron CPU). A variety of software, including XPLOR, ARIA, CYANA and CNS (all capable of running off multiple CPUs), as well as other visualization software: NMRView, NMRPipe, NMRDraw, pymol and molmol

IRIC’s biophysics core facility provides a cutting-edge NMR spectroscopy solution with a specific focus on experiments studying protein structure, protein-ligand interactions and routine analyses of small molecules.

Medicinal chemistry core facility

1. Liquid chromatography systems combined with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometers (LC/MS TOF, LC/MS Triple Quad and Simple Quad)

2. Analytical and preparative high-pressure liquid chromatography systems

3. Automated silica gel flash chromatography purification systems (ISCO, Biotage)

4. Microwave reactors (including an autosampler) for high-temperature chemical reactions

5. The medicinal chemistry core facility has an inventory of more than 20,000 commercial reagents as well as a chemical library of more than 100,000 molecules and more than 5,000 patented molecules.

The medicinal chemistry core facility is available to researchers interested in developing original and specific molecular tools or optimizing the discovery of chemical bodies with therapeutic potential. The team uses the latest molecular synthesis, purification and analysis techniques.

High-throughput screening core facility

1. Data storage and analysis

2. Semi-automated microscopy station

3. High-content screening system: Operetta (Perkin Elmer)

4. Semi-automated pipetting station

5. Integrated robotic system with pipetting station, incubator and Envision plate reader (Perkin Elmer), SpectraMaxL (Molecular Devices) and BMG POLARstar plate reader for:

a. Optical density

b. Luminescence and enhanced luminescence

c. Intensity of normal and time resolved fluorescence

d. Polarization of fluorescence


f. AlphaScreen

g. 96-, 384- and 1536-well plates

Designed to be used for a variety of biochemical and cell-based assays with different biological systems and models, the high-throughput screening core facility can carry out up to 25,000 tests per day.

Flow cytometry core facility

1. AutoMACS cell separator

2. BD FACSAria I cell sorter (2 lasers)

3. BD FACSAria IIu cell sorter  (3 lasers)

4. BD FACSCanto II cell analyser with carousel (3 lasers)

5. BD LSR II cell analyser with HTS module (3 lasers)

Flow cytometry is a method for measuring and analysing different physical characteristics of cells or particles. It is primarily used for immunophenotyping, studying the cell cycle and apoptosis, analysing cell proliferation, analysing intracellular cytokines, studying signalling pathways (phosphoproteins), measuring gene expression with fluorescent proteins (GFP, YFP, etc.), and measuring intracellular Ca2+ and intracellular pH, as well as FRET and ROS. Cell sorters are also used to purify (isolate) cell subpopulations.

Genomics core facility

1. Capillary sequencing

a. DNA sequencing (plasmids, PCR products, etc.)

b. Results in 48 hours

c. Personalised access to your sequences on a secure server

d. Equipment: ABI 3730

2. Next-generation sequencing

a. Genome/transcriptome

b. Exome or targeted genomic regions

c. ChIP (chromatin immunoprecipitation)

d. Equipment: Illumina HiSeq2000 and MiSeq

3. Real time PCR (qPCR)

a. Full service and advice on what strategies to use

b. cDNA preparation

c. Assay design

d. Validation and analysis of your results

e. Equipment: ABI 7900HT and Roche LC480

4. Microarrays

a. Self-serve equipment (no support available)

b. Equipment: GenePix 4000B scanner

5. DNA and RNA analysis

a. RNA quality and quantity analysis

b. Full PDF report

c. RNA quality index number (RIN)

d. Equipment: Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100 and NanoDrop 8000


Histology core facility

1. PathStand 40 Gross Dissection Imaging System (SPOT Imaging Solutions)

2. Necropsy table

3. Tissue circulator/processor for pathology: Tissue Tek VIP 5 (Somagen)

4. Paraffin coating station: EC 350 (Microm) Tissue Embedding Center

5. Microtomes: RM2255 (Leica) and Finesse E+ (Shandon)

6. Cryostat: CM3050S (Leica)

7. Standard stainer: DRS601 (Somagen)

8. Automated immunostainer for immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization: Discovery XT (Ventana Medical Systems/Roche)

9. Tissue microarrays: MTA-1 et ATA-27 (Beecher)

10. Laser microdissector: PALM MicroBeam (Zeiss)

11. High-capacity digital slide scanner (210 slides) (fluorescence and bright field cuts): NanoZoomer 2.0-HT (Hamamatsu)

12. Image analysis station: VisiomorphDP™ (Visiopharm)

13. Online telepathology software: mScope Education and Aurora

Histology, immunohistochemistry, image acquisition, laser microdissection and tissue microarray generation services. Detailed macroscopic description, specimen digitalization and sample identification. Microscopic analysis of tissue from humans, mice and other experimental models by a pathologist.

Recombinant proteins and antibodies core facility

ÄKTA protein purification system

Medium- to large-scale protein expression and purification service using E. coli and insect cells to produce high-quality polyclonal antibodies. The facility also helps researchers develop strategies for protein expression and antibody production.

Proteomics core facility

1. Gel electrophoresis station (XCell SureLock Mini-Cell, Invitrogen)

2. Automated protein band and spot digestion gel electrophoresis station (ProPre, Perkin Elmer)

3. Reverse phase liquid nanochromatography system combined with a Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap Elite hybrid mass spectrometer: sample flow rate is 600 nl/min; detection limit is 10 fmol injected

4. Protein identification using Mascot Daemon and Mascot Distiller

5. Peptide profiles created with software developed in our laboratory

The proteomics core facility enables the identification of proteins in 1D gel bands, the development of protein expression profiles, the identification of targeted post-translational modifications (phosphorylation and glycosylation) and the analysis of samples using two-dimensional chromatography, including ion exchange chromatography and reverse phase chromatography.

Transgenesis core facility



1. DNA microinjection (pronuclear)

2. Directed gene targeting

3. ES cell injection into blastocysts

4. Embryo cryopreservation

5. Sperm cryopreservation

6. Rederivation laboratory

7. In vitro fertilization