The Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science’s Open House is back this Research Month. Staff from across St. Michael’s Hospital can register for tours showcasing novel technologies and research.

Hospital staff, clinical researchers, physicians and volunteers are invited to pre-register for tours that will take place Thursday Nov. 29, 2018 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Each tour will last about 20 minutes. Please note that there are a limited number of spots per tour and are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. Register now so that you don’t miss out!

In addition to the tours, St. Michael’s staff are invited to visit the Exhibition Space on the second floor of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute any time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. No registration needed for this portion.

There are many Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science groups providing tours for you to choose from, plus there’s free lunch! Take a look at some of our cutting-edge research and tours available below, then sign up for a tour.


 If you have any questions please contact Christina Ting at

2nd Floor Demos

Does not require registration or sign-up!


  1. MRI-Compatible Driving Simulator and Touch Tablet
    The Neuroscience Research Team, in collaboration with Sunnybrook Research Centre, has developed a novel and fully immersive driving simulator and touch tablet. The MRI compatible equipment can capture brain activity during real world tasks, e.g. driving, writing, and drawing. It is also frequently used in pre-operative planning for awake brain tumour surgeries. We invite you to see our neat set-up outside of the scanner and test your driving skills
  2.  Zebrafish Microscope
    Opioid medications are widely used to reduce pain, but present the side-effect of respiratory depression that can be deadly with overdose. Although opioids are currently killing thousands of people in Canada, they remain the pharmacological cornerstone of modern pain therapy and there are currently no treatments to prevent respiratory depression by opioids without reducing their analgesic properties. Dr. Montandon is working on developing a novel zebrafish model in order to expedite the process of drug screening. The platform allows us to study the respiratory depression and analgesic effects of opioids in order to screen for new potential safe opioid pain therapies.
  3. Ophthalmic Imaging Platform
    The SPECTRALIS is an ophthalmic imaging platform approved by both Health Canada and United States Food & Drug Administration for non-invasive eye imaging in clinical practice. The equipment includes a retinal angiography and a spectral domain optical coherence tomography. With the confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy technology, this device is sensitive to fluorescent dyes like fluorescein and indocyanine green used in clinical setting. At Keenan Research Centre, Gupta and Yucel lab has adapted this imaging modality for mouse eye related research. With a specific lens, cross-section and 3D retinal images of mouse eyes are captured to monitor structural and morphological change for the research of glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Also, this system is currently used for post-mortem eye imaging of specimens from Human Eye Biobank for Research, which provides an opportunity to discover new biomarkers for blinding eye diseases and brain disorder.
    The CAPTIC (Canadian Adaptive Platform Trial in Intensive Care) led by Dr. John Marshall is a CIHR-SPOR (Canadian Institute for Health Research – Strategy for Patient Oriented Research) funded research program that will introduce a new model of clinical research called a platform trial. Platform trials can study several treatments for a disease simultaneously and increase the chances that patients in the trial will receive treatments that seem to be performing better. They provide an opportunity for patients to play a role in accelerating knowledge and merging clinical research with quality improvement. On November 20th, 2018, 5-8pm, CAPTIC will hold its first patient engagement event at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute – the event will provide previous ICU patients across Toronto and their caregivers an opportunity to share their experiences with critical illness and to provide their thoughts on research and how it can better address patient needs. Come out to learn more about this great initiative!
  5. Angels Den Videos
    Angels Den is a battle for medical breakthroughs designed to drive discoveries. Now in its fourth year, this competitive platform brings out St. Michael’s Hospital’s all-start scientists who pitch their revolutionary research ideas to more than 700 guests. Held this year on Nov 6th, 2018, more than $400,000 was awarded in prizes. Come to the 2nd Floor Exhibition space to view all the Angels’ video pitches! Click here to read more about this year’s Angels Den
    We are developing a near infrared device to measure tissue perfusion, specifically in the diabetic lower extremity. The device is called MIMOSA and is cellphone sized-come take a look at this innovative invention!

4th Floor Tours

The Core:

Practice Pipetting

Pipettes are a fundamental tool you need to master in order to become a molecular biologist. Often you see these used in forensic shows like Forensic Files, CSI, and Bones. Luckily, they are not that complex to use and can probably master in 20 minutes. They allow us to manipulate cells allowing us to grow them and study them outside of the body. Being able to do this allows us to compare different cells from healthy and diseased samples, and examine their responses to drugs and conditions that can occur in the body such as inflammation. Pipettes also allow us to work with incredibly small amount of chemicals, DNA and enzymes to replicate the conditions within a cell and manipulate the DNA of a cell.

Dr. Heyu Ni’s Lab:

Direct observation and intervention of thrombosis: introducing the state-of-the-art intravital microscopy system at the Ni lab

Thrombus or clot formation is the cause of death in heart attack and stroke, the two leading causes of mortality and morbidity around the world. Previously, researchers studied the blood clotting and thrombosis process in a test tube. In the human body, however, these processes occur inside blood vessels, where the blood is constantly flowing at high speed and interacting with the vessel wall. During his post-doc training at Harvard, Dr. Ni developed the first intravital microscopy system, which enables us to directly observe thrombus formation and its response to therapeutic interventions inside the blood vessel. Dr. Ni’s lab is the leader in Canada to utilize this advanced technique for thrombosis research and has made many high impact discoveries in the field. Join us for a tour!

5th Floor Tours

The Core:

Name That Tissue Challenge!


The Research Core Facilities offers equipment and technologies to research staff as well as clinicians with a research interest. The facilities are staffed by resident scientists who are experts in their field, offering in-depth consultation and training in their areas, including light microscopy. Come visit the Bioimaging facility where you will be able to operate some of our microscope systems and test your skills at identifying tissue sections

Dr. Phillip Marsden’s Lab:

Agarose Gel Demonstration


Have you ever wondered what Agarose Gel is or what it is used for? Sign up for this demo of how to make Agarose Gel! You will get a chance to make your own gel and learn about its importance in the basic sciences

6th Floor Tours

Bacterial Swab

Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in modern days. In research, however, this antibiotic resistance is manipulated for our benefit. In order to produce proteins, researchers design plasmids which are tiny loops of DNA that code for proteins. Then these plasmids are inserted into bacteria, the most commonly used here being E. coli, and we hijack the bacteria’s cellular machinery to “read” the DNA and produce the proteins for us. To ensure the bacteria has successfully picked up our protein, we grow the bacteria on Petri dishes specifically infused with antibiotics then inside the plasmids we add an antibiotic-resistant gene. Thus, if the bacteria have successfully picked up our plasmid, it will be able to produce both our protein of interest and the protein that provides it with antibiotic resistance – allowing it to survive on the petri dish. Please join us for a hands-on demonstration to learn more about bacteria and using bacteria in research!”

7th Floor Tours

The Biomedical Zone:

Exclusive tour of the Biomedical Zone (BMZ)

The Biomedical Zone helps early-stage health technology companies to validate their need-based solutions directly in the hospital setting with clinicians, business experts, and innovative thinkers. Through the Biomedical Zone, startups are able to rapidly iterate their technology, refine their business model, and demonstrate clinical value.

We are not just an incubator, but an innovation centre for clinicians, students, and entrepreneurs alike. Our first-in-class programs offer startups unprecedented access to the clinical environment, while facilitating unique experiential learning opportunities for students. Together, we are transforming the way hospitals innovate.

Get a chance to have an exclusive tour of this space!

The Biomedical Zone is a proud partnership between Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital

8th Floor Tour-The Vivarium

Dr. Xiao-Yan Wen’s Lab:

Facility Tour of Zebrafish Disease Modeling and High Throughput Drug Screen

Led by Dr. Wen, St. Michael’s Hospital launched the Zebrafish Centre for Advanced Drug Discovery in 2012. St. Michael’s is home to Canada’s first and the only fully automated zebrafish high-throughput screening platform.

In this tour, you will be guided through the advanced zebrafish housing rack system and you will be taught how to build disease models.