Validating rnai targets
"Initially, we had a variety of plate readers and confocal microscopy to validate targets one at a time, but it was rather laborious.
The idea was to develop a uniform platform to handle multiple targets simultaneously.
A particular software application might evaluate one or more of a half-dozen major classes of cellular change, from identifying spots to tracking changes in morphology, translocation or intensity.
It allows them to run screens that could not have run on standard instruments because of the cell phenotype changes involved, says David Burns, Ph D, senior project leader in biological screening and molecular services.
Researchers can now combine the two tools to screen potential targets systematically, exploiting the rich information set provided by HCS to make what may turn out to be better decisions about the molecules they will send to chemists.
This new wealth of information, however, creates information management challenges for both pharmaceutical researchers and instrument vendors.
The goals of image analysis are always tied back to image acquisition, she says.
The instrument analyzes images on the fly, so when a plate is finished, all the image and numeric data are captured for storage and review.