Vector Core

The Penn Vector Core is a full service viral vector core facility located on the University of Pennsylvania campus. With over a decade of experience in the production of viral-based vectors, the Core has become an important technological resource for investigators, both within and external to Penn, interested in the use of viral-based vectors for gene transfer. The main objective of the Core is to provide investigators access to state-of-the-art vector technology for preclinical studies and other basic research applications. Such studies, utilizing carefully designed viral vectors, can provide information critical to the understanding of gene function and development of therapeutic vectors.

Easy online ordering

Penn Vector Core Services Include:

  • Services to non-profit institutions and academic investigators worldwide
  • Provision of AAV vectors and additional vector information
  • Please note we have suspended production of adenoviral and lentiviral-based vectors
  • Production of custom vectors designed according to the needs of the investigator
  • Provision of ready-made reporter gene vectors from our inventory
  • Consultation and advice in the design of custom vectors and in vector serotype/pseudotype selection
  • Design, cloning, and production of plasmid DNA for the production of custom vectors
  • Provision of cloning vectors for insertion of genes of interest prior to vector production
  • Robust quality control including full sequence analysis of source materials
  • A wide variety of AAV serotypes, including AAV1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and rh10 more

The Penn Vector Core specializes in the provision of novel AAV serotype vectors, and has the greatest experience in producing novel serotype vectors developed at Penn. AAV 1, 7, 8, 9, and rh10 were originally isolated at Penn in the laboratory of Dr. James M. Wilson, and first made available to investigators through the Penn Vector Core. Due to its close proximity to the Wilson laboratory, the Penn Vector Core is able to rapidly assimilate new vector technologies and make them available to its users. The Core offers a variety of novel serotype AAV vectors, and additional vectors currently under development will be distributed through the Penn Vector Core. All of the vectors generated by the Penn Vector Core are distributed under material transfer agreements (MTA) to academic, government, and non-profit institutions. Corporate users may access novel AAV vector technologies through the Penn co-founded company, REGENXBIO Inc.

Penn Vector Core Inventory Catalog

The Penn Vector Core is pleased to partner with Addgene to provide greater access to high quality viral-based vectors for the research community. Over the coming months, the existing Penn Vector Core inventory will be transferred to Addgene for distribution. As inventory is transferred, vectors will be taken off our catalog and added to Addgene’s catalog. While we strive to streamline the transition, there may be lag between the time items are available through the Addgene website. We apologize for any inconvenience during this time. The Penn Vector Core will continue to produce the same high quality viral vectors listed in our catalog for distribution through Addgene. The Penn Vector Core will also continue to provide custom vector production services to researchers worldwide.

For a most up-to-date version of our catalog, please visit our online ordering system.

  • Note: To view our catalog you will need an account set up in our system

  • To set up an account, if you do not already have one, please visit our order information page.

Penn Vector Core Grants

The Penn Vector Core has been selected as the National Preclinical Vector Core as part of the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute (NHLBI) Gene Therapy Resource Program. To apply for NHLBI GTRP funding, please contact the GTRP via the link below. The Penn Vector Core has also been designated as a National Vector Core Center by the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation to support gene therapy for CF research. Additional grant support is available for UPenn investigators working on genetic diseases through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) P30 Center Grant as well as through the Diabetes and Endocrine-Related Disease Center (DERC) Grant. Eligibility for CF, P30 or DERC funding is determined following consultation with the Penn Vector Core Director. Additional information on these grant sponsors is available below:

Vector Development

Penn Vector Core maintains strong links to key laboratories at Penn involved in novel vector development. Relevant innovations are quickly brought into the Vector Core where they are validated and made available to investigators. Improved methods of creation of new adenoviral vectors, novel AAV serotypes derived from human and non-human primates, and various pseudotyped lentiviruses have been developed in the laboratory of Dr. James Wilson and transferred to the Penn Vector Core.

Since the introduction of the gene therapy concept in the early 90s, research has entered a fast evolving era. Achievement of efficient and long-term gene transfer to the target cells with minimal host immune responses and toxicity remains one of the major challenges to gene therapists. Discovery and development of efficient, versatile, and safe delivery vehicles for therapeutic genes becomes the most critical path to the success of gene therapy applications. Among various gene transfer vehicles available to date, viral vectors continue to dominate the field of gene therapy. Whenever there is the discovery of a new virus which can be used for gene transfer applications, it is engineered into a vector. Once the vector has demonstrated its potential, discoveries always lead to further advances in the field. From retrovirus to lentivirus and adenoviruses to adeno-associated viruses, all promises and potentials held by these vectors have provided significant landmarks in the short history of gene therapy research. Overall, discovery and development of novel viral vectors continue to be among the major driving forces to the fast evolving field. The purpose of the Vector Development Laboratory is to continue the pursuit of GTP's endeavor to provide the gene therapy research community at Penn a leading and dependable source of knowledge and science.

Contact Us

Currently, Vector Core's AAV and Lentivirus Production facility is organized into three areas: Molecular biology laboratory for vector construction and recombinant virus analysis; tissue culture room dedicated to DNA viral work; and tissue culture room for non-viral work.

The Adenovirus unit of the Vector Core is also part of the Gene Therapy Program facilities at the Translational Research Laboratories. Our laboratory houses a clean cell culture room, a tissue culture room for adenovirus infection and purification, a room for small scale molecular biology, and office and storage space.

Contact Information: To request materials and/or for questions and status relating to your requests, please use the Main Contact information.

Main Contact:

Penn Vector Core
125 South 31st St., Suite 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3403
Tel: 215.573.0633

Executive Director of Penn Vector Core:
Julie Johnston, PhD

Director of Penn Vector Core:
Arbans K. Sandhu, PhD

Associate Director of Penn Vector Core:

Kenton T. Woodard, PhD

Associate Director of Cloning and Quality Control:
Shu-Jen Chen, PhD

Billing and Finance:
Ree Ree Melko
Gene Therapy Program
125 South 31st St., Suite 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3403
Tel: 215-746-8937