The RITT center received an infrastructure award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation worth $20 million and has been designated a premiere Canadian site for beta-testing new bioanalytical technology. This has helped RITT find funding for equipment for the general research labs, spanning 4,000 square feet; the IBDL facility, spanning a full 1,800 square feet; the state-of-the-art imaging facility; and the cell-sorting facility.
The IBDL alone is made up of numerous laboratories, including labs for upstream and downstream processing, microbiology, cell processing, instrumentation, and wet chemistry, in addition to cold and warm rooms. To equip both the general lab and the IBDL facilities, collaborations with vendors, such as Thermo Fisher Scientific (www.thermofisher.com), have been formed and a multitude of instrumentation has been installed.
From Thermo Fisher the list includes biological safety cabinets, lamina-flow stations, CO2 incubators, orbital shakers, ultra-low temperature freezers, a mass spectrometer, HPLCs, UV/visible spectrophotometers, microplate instrumentation, and a KingFisher magnetic particle processor for protein purification. With over $1 million of equipment, this has been one of the IBDL’s biggest investments in a single supplier.
However, it is acknowledged that it is not just the hardware that can be of great benefit to these facilities, but the technical and application expertise of the scientists involved with their development. Thus, it was proposed that industry partners should be closely involved with the educational component of the RITT center. As a result, vendors are involved with student training, industrial biotechnology seminars, and the sponsorship of training facilities and workshops—all providing long-term benefits to the center. Workshops cover subjects such as ultrafiltration, ELISA development, and mass spectrometry applications, to name just a few.
There has also been the opportunity to support the RITT’s objectives by funding a post-doctoral research scientist for two years. The Bioanalytical Post-doctoral Fellow works on projects of mutual interest, in particular the development of new biomarkers, specifically concentrating on the areas of assay development and biomolecule purification.