Manager: Dr. Robin Ketteler
High-Throughput screening using classical and chemical genetic approaches has emerged as a powerful tool to identify cellular pathways, potential therapeutic targets and therapeutic lead compounds. For a long time disregarded as “fishing expeditions”, it is now accepted that genomic screening is the way forward for making unexpected, ground-breaking discoveries in biomedical research. In fact, much of what we know about how cells function has come from unbiased screening approaches. This paradigm shift has been facilitated by the availability of complete genome sequences and the advent of gene-specific knockdown technology using RNA Interference (RNAi) in the early 21st century. Another revolution in functional genomics is the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools. We are currently developing workflows for the use of CRISPR libraries in an arrayed multi-well format.
The TRRC uses high-throughput screening techniques to facilitate translational research. There are three key features: first, we provide a high-throughput screening platform for projects that involve biosafety level 3 pathogens such as human Immunodeficiency Virus or Hepatitis Virus.
This platform is located at our sister site at the Wohl Virion Centre, University College London, and uses a unique setup of liquid handling robots (CyBio WellVario, CyBi Drop) in a biosafety cabinet that enables fully automated processing of infectious samples in a 384-well format.
The second feature is our versatility in the assays and cell types that can be analyzed at our site. Our instrumentation allows analysis of various assay systems including confocal microscopy, fluorescence, absorbance, luminescence and flow cytometry. We offer small molecule, cDNA, CRISPR and siRNA screening libraries.
Further, a major aim is to facilitate screening in primary cells, which have been regarded as difficult in terms of transfection and automated handling. We have used HUVEC, Schwann cells and neuronal cells in our screening projects and continue to develop techniques and instrumentation for primary cell screening which may ultimately lead to “in vivo” screening setups.
And third, we have solutions for image processing and statistical analysis with a major aim to develop high-content screening in 3D cultures.
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