Viral vector facility

A viral vector facility, to be located at the Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Zurich, will be established to assist research groups with applying viral vectors to their experiments. Here, we interview the facility’s manager, Dr. Jean-Charles Paterna, about this exciting ZNZ initiative.

ZNZ Newsletter:
What services will the viral vector facility offer?

Dr. Paterna: We will offer two main services. The production of viral vectors for preclinical studies and other basic research applications will be our main service. But we will also offer consulting services to support researchers in their choice of vectors and the best way to produce them, both for vectors that are made in our facility and by the groups themselves. We will maintain a repository of commonly used reporter viral vectors that will be available for quick testing of the suitability of viral vectors for an experimental setting. Support in writing publications and research proposals round out our offered services.

What are viral vectors and what are their fields of application?
Recombinant viral vectors are expression cassettes for the specific delivery of DNA to a desired location. There is a wide variety of applications possible. In basic research, viral vectors are used mostly to locally express proteins or RNA to test a research hypothesis.

Who can make use of the facility?
The facility is open to all interested research groups of Life Science Zurich at the ETH and the UZH. But other universities and companies doing life science research can also use our services. Clearly, as the facility is an initiative of the ZNZ, projects of groups at the ETH and the UZH will be given priority.

What are the advantages of having a viral vector facility on the campus?
We will be able to supply viral vectors relatively quickly and at a competitive cost. I expect that easy access to consulting and production will enable research groups to begin applying viral vector gene transfer technology much more frequently and successfully.

How is the facility organized?
As the VVF manager I will be responsible for all operational activities. A technician will support me with the laboratory work. The facility operation will be supervised by the VVF Management Board, consisting of Prof. Jean-Marc Fritschy, Director ZNZ, Dr. Wolfgang Knecht, Managing Director ZNZ, and Prof. Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer, Director of the Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology. Our laboratories are located at the Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology.

When will the services be available?
We expect the facility to be up and running by the beginning of 2015. All research groups of the ZNZ and Life Science Zurich will receive detailed information about our services.