Advances in Cell Based Screening Technologies 2011

ELRIG (European Laboratory Robotics Interest Group) are hosting a free conference on the 15th March 2011 at Hinxton Hall, Cambridge UK on the topic of “Advances in Cell-Based Screening Technologies.With technological developments advancing at a seemly ever-increasing pace, methods of monitoring biological activity that a decade ago wouldn’t look out of place on Star Trek are beginning to filter into the lab.How are these being used, what can they tell us and what are the limitations? At this conference you will hear talks on the latest cutting edge detection technologies and biological techniques transitioning into screening labs. How are they faring and what might you using 10 years from now?

In just over a decade we have moved from ‘simple’ radioactive filter binding assays, through to absorbance cell based assays, fluorescence (in all its flavours), reporter gene assays, second messenger assays, to HCS and now label free detection of cell assays.

These developments have been driven, in part, by the emerging understanding of the complexities of subcellular signalling events and their activation or suppression.

Different formats, even in the same cell line, can give widely different values for compound activity, all valid, depending on your frame of reference. To add to this, native cell types are rarely used for primary screening, with researchers opting, through necessity, to use highly engineered immortalised cell lines. This can make it difficult to determine what the ‘correct’ assay format for a given target is.

In recent years this has lead to an increasing effort in replicating as closely as possible the cellular processes involved in a disease state under investigation, while maintaining a level or screening “do-ability”. The efficient culture and use of primary cells, differentiated stem cells and 3D culture techniques are all active hot topics of research to address this.

On the instrumentation side we see formats that promise to monitor several pathways simultaneously and deliver knowledge in addition to a simple activation or inhibition events. Add to the mix ever-increasing sensitivity, simplification of use, higher throughputs, lower costs or the elimination of need the need to external labels.

At Advances in Cell Based Screening Technologies you will hear about how these advances are being applied to screening and what new technologies we may see emerge and transition to labs over the next few years.

These, and other topics, will be discussed by an eminent array of speakers, including Yen Choo of Plasticell, Gareth Wayne from GSK, Leo Price, Leiden University, Gary Clark of BioFocus, Henry Danahay hailingfrom Novartis, Kishan Dholakia, St Andrews University, Fatima Labeed of Surrey University and last, but by no means least, Frank Craig of Sphere Fluidics.


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