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at the interface of physics & neuroscience

COVF Production cores

Protein engineering core

Viral vector core

Specialty fibre-optics core

Focused ultrasound core

Viral Vector Core

(Université Laval, CERVO), The Viral Vector Core is composed of an extended team of experts specializing in molecular biology, tissue culture, in vivo validation, microscopy, flow cytometry and process optimization. Working closely with experts from across the globe, we offer the highest-quality vectors that can be custom-tailored to meet almost any vectorology-based research need.  Our developers identify new specific promoters and AAV capsids, and collaborate with experts in optogenetics. We work synchronously with dedicated teams of researchers from the different COVF testing sites, covering a spectrum of animal models. This constant communication ensures the continuous improvement of molecular throughout their development.

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Protein engineering core

(Laval University, University of Tokyo) The mission of the Protein Engineering Core is to create customized, high-performance, and well-characterized optogenetic tools that are optimized for end-user applications. We aim to make these tools widely available for the global research community to advance neuroscience research, accelerate therapeutic development, and enable biological discoveries. We leverage our knowledge, expertise, and experience in protein engineering, to design, develop, distribute, and democratize optogenetic tools for neuroscience, cell biology, and across all areas of biological research. The Protein Engineering Core seamlessly integrates with the Viral Vector Core to make all of the viral vectors that encode our optogenetics tools available worldwide. We also closely engage the COVF testing nodes for the testing, characterization, and evaluation of optogenetic molecular tools in the development pipeline. We strive to provide an inclusive and synergistic service platform for all researchers and promote two-way education and communication between tool developers and the end-user community.

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Focused Ultrasound Core

Focused ultrasound icon

(Sunnybrook Research Institute, CeRIGT) The Focused Ultrasound (FUS) Core is built on unique expertise, resources, infrastructure, and governance within the only Centre of Excellence in Focused Ultrasound in Canada. This team of experts offers services in FUS applications related to gene delivery. Their leaders specialize in FUS device conception, development, and applications to the brain and spinal cord that are adapted to user needs. They focus on optimizing gene delivery, specifically for AAV, to the central nervous system using FUS. We engage with experts, in academia and industry, to identify and customize tools that are compatible with FUS and optogenetics technologies. We design, plan, and execute FUS experiments, and provide outstanding quality control in tissue processing and high throughput imaging. They collaborate with teams nationally and internationally to continue to improve the tools required for gene delivery applications with FUS.

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Specialty Fibre Optics Core

(Laval University, COPL) The specialty fibre-optics core specializes in glass material synthesis, optical fiber manufacturing and photonic device development for a variety of technology markets. It is the only university laboratory in Canada that can design and manufacture a wide variety of specialty glass optical fibres and fibre devices. The core has been operating for 13 years during which time has developed partnerships with colleagues in academia and industry world-wide. These relationships have led to a consistent customer base with requests including customized specialty glass preforms and optical fibres for a variety of manufacturing and R&D needs. Within the COVF, the Specialty Fibre-optics core works very closely with the Optogenetics Engineering and Testing cores to deploy and optimize fibre-based optrodes for opto-electrical stimulation and sensing on very localized volumes of tissue. These unique optrodes allow for efficient neurochemical and ion sensing applicable to the wide variety of animal species covered by the COVF testing nodes.

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