Neonatal Immunological Research Laboratory (NIRL)

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
What the facility does

Developmental immunology and neonatal outcomes

Areas of expertise

We develop innovative solutions to improve health outcomes in most vulnerable babies, particularly those born prematurely. Our studies involve research on the neonata infections, the developing immune system and the impact of inflammation. About twelve percent of babies are born prematurely in the world. Prematurity and infections are the two leading causes of mortality in the first month of age. About one in six preterm baby develops a serious life-threatening infection during the newborn period. Understanding how the immune system develops in early life in humans, including babies, is important to prevent serious health consequences.

Research services

Advance molecular immunophenotyping/flow cytometry, gene/protein expression studies, population-based clinical studies, global health research in low/middle-income countries.

Sectors of application
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Specialized lab



Neonatal intensive care unit minilab

Sample storage fridge and freezer

Located in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of BC

Cellular immunology laboratory

Fully equipped tissue culture room with



Incubators (CO2 and O2) and  chambers (O2 and N2)

Cell culture in hyperoxia and hypoxia environment


Ultralow temperature freezers with remote temperature sensors

Biological samples storage with monitoring systems


High data capacity computer workstations with FlowJo software data analyses

Flow cytometry analysis

Molecular biology laboratory

Nucleic acid/proteomics equipment



Automated Microplate Absorbance  Reader

ELISA and Protein assay

Flow cytometry core

BD FACSAria Fluidics Enhancement System

Upgrading BD FACSAria IIu

  • STEMCELL Technologies Canada Inc. (Vancouver/ Canada)



Life-threatening infection in premature babies linked to protein deficiency – Globe & Mail article…

Why premature babies are so fragile and susceptible to infections – Vancouver Sun…

Featuring Lavoie Lab – Neonatal Immunological Research Laboratory (NIRL) – Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research