Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI)

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

Cardiovascular, pulmonary and critical care research

Areas of expertise

At the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI), basic and clinician scientists work together in an exciting multidisciplinary environment to address vital issues in heart, lung and critical-care disease. Situated within Providence Health’s St. Paul’s Hospital, a University of British Columbia teaching hospital, the HLI is a translational research centre using molecular and cellular research discoveries to develop innovative approaches to prevent and treat human disease through complementary and connected clinical research.

Our focus is on developing solutions to the biggest health challenges: atherosclerosis and heart failure, emphysema and other chronic pulmonary diseases, severe infections and multiple-organ failure, at the cellular, preclinical and clinical levels. We seek out the underlying causes of these diseases so that we can develop strategies for prevention and treatment. We link our discoveries to improved healthcare through clinical research, teaching, and by directly translating new knowledge into clinical practice. 

Our success is built on world-class registries of human samples (imaging, tissue, blood, DNA, RNA, protein) from longitudinal cohorts of thousands of heart, lung and critically ill patients, as well as our state-of-the-art imaging, animal and cell modelling.

Research services

Microscopy, imaging, pathology and morphology, preclinical in vivo, histology, molecular phenotyping

The microscopy services support the centre's educational and research missions. We provide services to individual institutions and private industry in ultra-high-resolution imaging of cells and tissues in fixed and living specimens. In addition, we provide services in image analysis. 

The histology core offers a wide range of quality histological services delivered by experienced technicians who can work with you to advise on the best applications.

The Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory is a multi-user facility with an extensive range of equipment tailored to the phenotyping of patients, experimental animal models, tissues, cells and molecules.

The Genetically Engineered Models (GEM) reclinical Facility facility offers flexible space, tech services and equipment for use with rodent and rabbit models. It contains a barrier breeding unit, a level-2 containment suite and conventional and surgical areas. 

Sectors of application
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Specialized lab




Zeiss LSM880 super resolution confocal microscope with Airyscan

This one of the most sophisticated research confocal microscopes. It is capable of imaging 3-dimensional volumes with sub-micron resolution. The system features an Airyscan super-resolution module that allows for instantaneous production of confocal, multiphoton, or live images to resolutions of 120 nm.


Chameleon Ultra II Multiphoton Laser

This high-powered laser source can be tuned between wavelengths of 690-1050 nm, allowing for label-free multiphoton excitation within our Zeiss LSM800 microscope or a Lecia DM LFSA upright microscope. This can be used to detect second harmonic generation or two-photon fluorescence.


Aperio ScanScope AT2 slide scanner

This brightfield scanner digitizes whole microscope slides at 20x and 40x magnification and provides fantastic high resolution images (~ 0.5 microns/pixel for 20x and ~ 0.25 microns/pixel for 40x scans). Images can be up to 100,000 by 100,000 pixels in size (which would result in huge gigabyte files), but they are JPEG2000 compressed to a few hundred megabytes for an average-sized specimen. 


Laser capture micro-dissection system

For DNA and RNA


Widefield fluorescence microscope and CCD camera

Capable of performing real-time, high speed imaging using an image splitter within the CCD camera that allows multi-wavelength fluorescence measurements to be taken in fixed and living cells.


Nikon XT H 225 ST MicroCT scanner

The Micro-Computed Tomography (MicroCT) scanner enables the micro-X-ray tomographic volume imaging of tissues and samples down to 1 micron, using the ultra high sensitivity PerkinElmer X-ray detector. This allows the generation of three-dimensional structural renderings of specimens in incredible detail. Our system also features a custom-built temperature controlled stage allowing us to maintain samples smaller than 1 cm x 2 cm at as low as -30°C.


LI-COR Odyssey CLx Infrared Imaging Scanner

For fast, repeateable, multi-channel Western blot imaging with a 6 log sensitivity.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Beckman Coulter Gallios Flow Cytometer

The 4-laser, 10-color high resolution flow cytometer is designed for enhanced sensitivity when analyzing multicolor assays. The multi-tube carousel loader allows for high sample throughput and rapid flow cytometric analysis.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

ABI QuantStudio 6 Pro Real-Time PCR System

This high throughput real-time PCR system that allows for the detection and quantification of nucleic acid sequences. Key applications include gene expression quantification and the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The system is a versatile research tool utilizing a variety of chemistries such as TAqMan and SYBR green. The QuantStudio 6 Pro is also equipped with a 384-well block and powerful software to facilitate efficient data analysis.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Mass spectrometer


Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer

A micro-capillary based electrophoresis system that produces high quality digital reports of size and quality for nucleic acid and protein samples.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

SpectraMax i3/iD3 Microplate readers

Capable of measuring Absorbance, Fluorescence and Luminescence. The i3 is also equipped with a SpectraDrop Micro-Volume microplate for the quantification of DNA, RNA and proteins in volumes as low as 2µL.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Luminex xMAP platform

Facilitates the multiplex analysis of up to 100 analytes simultaneously in serum, plasma, cell lysates or tissue culture supernatants. Using a bead based array approach, rapid protein or gene analysis can be performed using as little as 25μL of sample. Our instrumentation can accommodate polystyrene and magnetic bead based assays.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Astrios cell sorter (FACS)

Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Designed for high speed analysis and sorting of cells at rates of up to 70,000 cells/second. Specifically designed for research requiring Biosafety level II containment, this unique platform is equipped with 5 lasers, 16 fluorescent detectors and can sort 6 subpopulations simultaneously into tubes or multi-well plates. With unparalleled speed and accuracy, it is capable of single cell deposition into 6- and up to 1536-well plates. It is also equipped with enhanced forward scatter detectors able to detect events as small as 200nm which is ideal for small particle characterization.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

nCounter Analysis System

Nanostring. Utilizes a novel digital color-coded barcode technology that is based on direct multiplexed measurement of gene expression and offers high levels of precision and sensitivity. The technology uses molecular “barcodes” and single molecule imaging to detect and counts up to 800 unique transcripts in a single reaction.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

NanoDrop Spectrophotometer

Can be used to measure nucleic acid and protein concentration of samples as small as 1 µL. Up to 8 samples at one time can be analyzed providing full spectral data for each sample.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

ADVIA 2120i Hematology analyzer

Provides a 23 parameter hematology profile with 5 part differential for human or veterinary specimens using only 175μL of sample.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Cytospin 4 Cytocentrifuge

Can spin 12 samples at once. Cell suspensions are centrifuged (200-2000 rpm) to deposit a thin layer of cells onto a glass slide while maintaining cellular integrity. Biohazardous aerosols are contained in the specially designed removable rotor.

Molecular Phenotyping Laboratory

Biorepository services equipment

Ultra low temperature storage of biological samples


Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Siemens Vida 3.0 Tesla clinical MRI scanner

With a 70 cm bore and full complement of anatomy-specific RF coils for human imaging. This scanner includes broadband RF hardware capable of imaging hyperpolarized 129Xe gas as an inhaled contrast agent. Advanced research protocols are available for structure-function cardiac and pulmonary imaging.


Leica RM2255 Microtomes (3)

For cutting tissue sections.


3DHISTECH TMA Master Tissue Microarrayer

Quorum tissue microarray for making tissue blocks with multiple tissue types.


Sakura Tissue-Tek Glass Coverslipper

For coverslipping slides once stained.


Zeiss wet mount microscopes (2)

For looking at wet slides before staining.


Nikon Light microscope

For viewing and scoring slides.


Olympus 5-headed microscope

For teaching and viewing slides with multiple people.


Nikon Grossing microscope

For dissecting smaller tissues.


Fisher tissue prep flotation water baths (2)



Thermo Histocentre 3 Embedding station

For preparing paraffin blocks after processing.

GEM Preclinical Facility

VisualSonics Echocardiograph system

Service includes a trained echo technician who can capture the given imaging requirements. The echo system has specialized packages such as Doppler and ECG monitoring.

GEM Preclinical Facility

flexiVent system

Offers volume and pressure controlled maneuvers for respiratory applications.

GEM Preclinical Facility

VisualSonics ultrasound machine

For rodents.

GEM Preclinical Facility

Telemetry system


GEM Preclinical Facility

Leica surgical microscope

Has a training arm with video viewing and capture capabilities. 

GEM Preclinical Facility

Anesthesia equipment


GEM Preclinical Facility

Harvard voluntary wheel running system


GEM Preclinical Facility

Kent Scientific non-invasive blood pressure monitoring equipment


GEM Preclinical Facility

Millar catheter system




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