The Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP) – accelerating discoveries from nose to tail

July 19, 2018

TCP is a world-class facility owned and operated by The Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital. It opened in 2007 and has transformed strategic investments by the Hospitals, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and Genome Canada into a unique national resource to provide critical tools (mouse and more recently rat models) and services that enables biomedical research of the highest caliber across the country. State-of-the-art infrastructure and technologies are combined at TCP to support excellent research and help companies succeed. TCP was designated a national research facility by the CFI in November 2014, and a Genomics Innovation Network Node by Genome Canada in April 2015. TCP is also a founding member of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium which was recognized as a distributed global infrastructure by the G7’s Ministers of Science in 2017.

TCP’s facility is uniquely programmed to design, produce, manage, analyze, and distribute mouse models to enable hypothesis-driven discovery, purpose-drive translational studies, and preclinical bioavailability, safety, and effect evaluation for therapeutic discovery. Quality assurance of processes and quality control of data and products is a priority at TCP. The Model Production Core provides services for embryonic stem (ES) cell- and Cas9 RNA-guided nuclease (Cas9 RGN) genome editing-derived mouse and rat production, genetic quality control, and colony management to deliver experimental cohorts. TCP is licensed to provide Cas9 RGN to academic and industry researchers so the customer is able to use the model. The Clinical Phenotyping Core provides services for comprehensive or customized user-focused analysis of gene function, mutant gene dysfunction, or validation of drug target and evaluation of treatment effect across diverse areas of biology, disease, or therapeutics in mice. This Core uses non- or minimally invasive phenotyping tests to identify abnormalities. The Pathology Core provides services for necropsy, gross pathology, histology, immunohistochemistry, semi- and quantitative image analysis, and histopathology to correlate genetic or compound-associated changes with tissue structure and disease. The Cryopreservation & Recovery Core provides state-of-the-art embryo, ES cell, and sperm services, and global acquisition and distribution so customers can get the models they need and access secure and convenient storage and distribution of their rodent models. All data generated from each of the Cores belongs to the customer.

Recently, TCP expanded to establish the Infection & Inflammation Core directed by Dr. Silvia Vidal at McGill University. Dr. Vidal is globally recognized as an expert in the genetics of susceptibility and resistance to infection. A purpose-built Biosafety Level 2 and Biosafety Level 3 facility, this Core extends TC P’s services to enable genome-wide assessment of genes and variants associated with resistance or susceptibility to infectious disease. Colonization with bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic agents is available to model host response to infection and explore preventative or therapeutic proof-of-principle. Antigen-induced inflammatory disease models are also available to users to assess host response to in vivo immunological challenges such as neuro- or intestinal inflammation.

TCP is supported by its multidisciplinary Informatics Team that provides web-enabled access for users (on-line requests, service descriptions, service fees, guidelines, reports) and the informatics software, databases, infrastructure, and interfaces necessary to support TCP’s operation. A Senior Biostatistician was recently recruited to provide study design and statistical analysis services using available software tools and approaches or developing bespoke methods if needed by the customer.

TCP’s mission is to help you with your research whenever we can add value. The facility’s Services Coordinator provides pre-sales support, information flow, project coordination, timely and complete access to data, and post-delivery follow-up to users. To find out more, go to TCP, or email services@phenogenomic.ca.