The mission of the Viral Vector Core is to produce and distribute quality viral vectors to the research community. We are a full service facility and can aid investigators in the design and construction of a wide variety of custom viral vectors. 

The Viral Vector Core is a non-profit facility that produces vectors on a fee-for-service basis to investigators world-wide. The vector core has a large catalog of “off the shelf” vectors available to investigators on demand without the need of a material transfer agreement (MTA). In addition, there are a great number of published reagents that are available with permission of the generating principal-investigator. In this case, vectors and plasmids are available with an appropriate MTA.

Vector Core Group


The Viral Vector Core is located on the second floor of Eckstein Medical Research Building (EMRB) in room 221, near the north elevator. The office is in 240 EMRB. The facilities are organized such that each virus has its own space. Expansions have been added over the years to the existing Core, serving to demonstrate the commitment of the College of Medicine to the Vector Core’s mission. The Vector Core is well equipped to work with investigators one on one to produce small batch, high quality, research grade vectors. In addition, the Vector Core benefits from the support and collaboration of other University of Iowa College of Medicine Cores, including the Genomics Division, the Flow Cytometry Facility, the Central Electron Microscopy Facility, and the Molecular Biology Facility. All cores run on a fee-for-service basis. However, because they function in providing bulk services, the cost per unit item is less than that found from commercial sources. 


The University of Iowa Gene Transfer Vector Core was founded in 1994 by Dr. Beverly Davidson. Dr. Davidson was responsible for advancing many vector services, in particular, viral vectors that deliver RNAi. The vector core is versed in the design of RNAi vectors utilizing the siSPOTR tool developed by Dr. Beverly Davidson’s Laboratory. RNAi sequences can be designed as artificial microRNA, short hairpin RNA or short interfering RNA and can be cloned into any viral shuttle.

In May 2014, Dr. Patrick Sinn was selected as interim Vector Core director. Dr. Sinn served as a consultant to the core from 2002-2006 and the associate director from 2008-2014. During this transition, the name of the Gene Transfer Vector Core was simplified to the Viral Vector Core. Dr. Sinn has a broad background in physiology, genetics, and virology and the main thrust of his research has dealt with modification and optimization of gene delivery reagents, especially for lung gene transfer applications.

Dr. William Paradee, Ph.D. became the director of the Viral Vector Core in 2017.  Dr. Paradee also directs the Genome Editing Core and has a deep knowledge of recombinant DNA technologies and vector design. Dr. Patrick Sinn continues to serve as Faculty Director and a knowledgeable resource for viral vector delivery. Both directors are committed to advancing viral vector design and delivery. The core uses cutting edge approaches to increase vector delivery efficiency and improve the utility and safety of the vector for gene transfer applications.