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Pathology Research Program (PRP) Laboratory

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Welcome to The Pathology Research Program (PRP) Laboratory

The Pathology Research Program (PRP) Laboratory is part of UHN's Laboratory Medicine Program- Pathology department. We offer a full scope of Histological services, which includes tissue processing, microtomy, special stains and Immunohistochemisty. Our team provides consultative services to clinical and academic investigators to tailor their histology needs specific to their project. Our services are available to UHN researchers, Academic institutions and all other external partners.

The facility is overseen by Rosetta Belcastro, Senior Manager Pathology Operations and Dr. Theo Van der Kwast, Urogenital Pathologist, Medical Director Pathology Research Program.

photo of Rosetta Belcastro

Rosetta Belcastro

photo of Dr. Theo Van der Kwast

Dr. Theo Van der Kwast

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Our Services

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  • checkmarkHandling of tissues, cultured cells, cell suspension and Cytospins/smear preparations
  • checkmarkFixation of tissue/cell preparations
  • checkmarkProcessing tissues to paraffin or frozen blocks
  • checkmarkSectioning of paraffin and frozen blocks to create slide preps for staining
  • checkmarkSpecial stains and immunohistochemistry studies on all slide preps
  • checkmarkParaffin and frozen sectioning for DNA/RNA extraction using DNAse/RNAse-free methods
  • checkmarkPreparation, sectioning and staining of tissue microarrays
  • checkmarkVISIUM sectioning technique for FFPE and frozen tissue
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  • checkmarkAntibody optimization
  • checkmarkSingle marker staining and multiple labelling using chromogenic and fluorescence techniques
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ISH/FISH studies

  • checkmarkUsing a unique method called RNAsope on FFPE and/or Frozen samples
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Unique Capacities

  • checkmarkTesting can be performed on human tissues for clinical trial investigations, as well as human or animal model research projects
  • checkmarkTesting services are customizable to clients' needs, but follow standard practices recognized to ensure quality of outcome
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Sample Preparation

  • checkmarkSpecimens can be received in fresh, frozen or formalin-fixed states in accordance with investigative studies required
  • checkmarkDNAse/RNAse methods are used in the preparation of sections or curls for DNA/RNA extractions
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  • checkmarkMethod development/optimization of antibodies and probes
  • checkmarkTesting and technical interpretation
  • checkmarkDigital image scanning 20X and/or 40X
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Additional Services

▸ Pre-analytical
  • checkmarkConsultation
  • checkmarkDNA or RNA free preparation and sectioning
  • checkmarkProject Design or method developement
  • checkmarkTissue microarray(TMA) construction
  • checkmarkTissue processing and embedding for histology
  • checkmarkTissue sectioning and mounting for histology
▸ Analytical
  • checkmarkFluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • checkmarkHistology staining (H&E and special stains)
  • checkmarkImmunofluorescence histological staining
  • checkmarkImmunohistochemistry

Our Facility

PRP is located in MaRS west tower 8th floor 661 University avenue. Services are available to UHN researchers, Academic institutions and all other external partners. Access to clinical diagnostic material, requires CAPCR institutional approval and a tissue requisition form issued by LMP-Research

Icon image of a dna

Sample Preparation

  • checkmarkSpecimens can be received in fresh- frozen or formalin-fixed states in accordance with investigative studies required.
  • checkmarkDNAse/RNAse methods are used in the preparation of sections, coring or curls, and Visium for DNA/RNA eperiments or techniques.
Icon image of a man in front of a computer

Usage Arrangements

  • checkmarkFee for service.
  • checkmarkCosts are provided in advance. Services can be customized, which include:
    • Consultation Fees
    • Method development and optimization
    • Specimen preparation and processing
    • Immunohistochemistry- Troubleshooting

Our Team

photo of Melanie Peralta

Melanie Peralta

Melanie Peralta is the team lead and resource technologist for the LMP-Pathology Research Program. Her career as a Medical Laboratory Technologist started in 1997 in her home town of Winnipeg. Her brave move to Toronto was the beginning of her journey specializing in Histology and Immunohistochemistry. She has over 23 years of experience in Histological techniques, 18 years of experience in Immunohistochemistry, 4 years of experience in training international MLTs at the Michener Institute and has recently achieved her certificate in Leadership in Healthcare. Her work alongside of her colleagues are often featured in notable medical journals and prestigious academic papers. Melanie's most notable work was featured on the front cover of the American Association for Cancer research Volume 26, issue 18.

photo of Ceceile Cimafranca

Ceceile Cimafranca

Ceceile is a licensed Medical Laboratory Technologist and is a member of the PRP team since 2007. She is a graduate of the Bridging Program for Internationally trained Medical Laboratory technologist at Michener Institute. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology degree in the Philippines and worked in a teaching hospital laboratory for 6 years prior to immigrating here in Canada. Cece, as she is fondly called by her colleagues, shows a positive attitude in the workplace. "Positivity begets positivity". In our daily work, we are approached with many challenges and having a positive outlook and atmosphere at work inspires, motivate the people around to be more productive and creative.

photo of Kristina Asoyan

Kristina Asoyan

Kristina Asoyan joined PRP in 2017. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 1995 at the Yerevan State University, Armenia. She is a first generation immigrant, who came to Canada with her daughter in 2013. Kristina continued her education at the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences and was awarded the Silver Medal when she graduated from the Diagnostic Cytology Program in 2017.

photo of Sarah Valencia

Sarah-Marie Valencia

Sarah Valencia is a graduate of the Medical Laboratory Science program from the Michener Institute and a licensed MLT. She obtained her Honour's Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, St. George with a Major in Human Biology, Global Health and a minor in Immunology. Sarah began working at UHN in 2020 as a member of the COVID team and is now a proud member of the PRP Lab.

photo of Ye Yang

Ye Yang

Ye Yang graduated from medical school in China, obtained her Masters in Endocrinology while practicing internal medicine in the Nephology department in China for over a decade. Ye not only worked as a Research fellow at Sickkids, she worked as a Research Technician in a Molecular Laboratory located at PMH. Ye has worked has worked over twenty years in a research capacity.

photo of Carmelita Honculada

Carmelita Honculada

Carmelita Honculada's 39 years work experience started in the Philippines as a licensed Registered Medical Technologist. Carmelita worked for 14 years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as Med Laboratory Scientific Officer (MLSO) in Histopathology Department where she was also made a Senior MLSO and acting Chief Technologist. She joined Toronto General Hospital in 2003. Carm, is a licensed Laboratory Technologist and member of CMLTO in good standing. She has made considerable contributions to the Pathology Research Program of LMP. She enjoys working in PRP as the research field is expansive and is able to contribute to healthcare via her research work.

Contact Us

Pathology Research Program Laboratory

The Pathology Research Program Laboratory is located at:

200 Elizabeth Street, 11MaRs 08-812
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2C4

Tel: 416-340-4800 (ext 8040) or (ext 5939)

Hours of operation: Monday - Friday, 8 am to 4 pm

Contact Information

Image credit: UHN's Research Strategy team