Discovery
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Selvi Durmus

High-Content Screening of Cells

The next-generation images created by this game-changing tool is helping scientists discover drugs faster. Part of our Art of the Science series. 

The average size of human cells are about 100 μm in diameter, so it is impossible to see what they are truly up to unless you have really good instruments. One next-generation tool in the drug discovery world, the CellVoyager CV8000, offers us an entire cytological (cell) discovery system and allows us to view cell behavior over long periods of time. Charles River's Early Discovery site in Leiden, the Netherlands, is using the CellVoyager CV8000 to help make the process of identifying potential drugs and drug targets much faster. We recently connected with Selvi Durmus, PhD, a Senior Scientist at the Leiden site, to talk about this technology and what you can learn viewing the amazing content generated by this system. 

What does the Yokagawa High Content Imaging Instrument do and how does it work?    

Selvi Durmus: CellVoyager CV8000 is one of the most advanced high-content screening system available in the world. It helps for a faster drug discovery journey with improved efficiency in complex phenotypic assays and increases our high-content screening capacity. CV8000 has a built-in incubator, four cameras, five lasers and a built-in pipettor. All these properties enable us, for example, to add compounds to the cells at pre-determined times without touching the plates. We can also monitor cell behavior over long periods of time! Whether we work with 2D or 3D cultures, leading-edge subjects such as iPS and ES cells in fluorescently labelled or un-labelled forms, CV8000 has the capacity to offer an efficient and robust solution.

What are we looking at in the fluorescence life imaging video on the right and the Brightfield life imaging video on the left?

SD: In this example, we are looking at Human iPSC-derived skeletal myocytes, so-called ioskeletal myocytes with live cell imaging with bright-field and fluorescence. As you can see, these cells quickly respond to acetylcholine injection by contracting, which is proof of a functional myocyte/myotube culture.  

How did you create it?

SD: With this experiment, we aimed to assess the possibility of a high-content assay development in the muscular disease area. We specifically cultured these ioskeletal myocytes to differentiate into functional myotubes. Towards the end of their differentiation, we performed a functional assay where CV8000 automatically injects acetylcholine while performing the imaging and could capture their contraction behavior successfully.

How is this next-gen imaging equipment being applied in your lab experiments and how is it impacting your research?  

SD: In our labs, we routinely use high-content imaging in combination with compound screens. Therefore, adding CV8000 to our inventory has boosted our capacity enormously for increasing our ability to perform complex assays and high-content screens.

Tell me something fun or interesting about your lab?

SD: The possibility of live cell -imaging before, through and after compound injection in an in-built incubator has made CV8000 our lab-star! We called it the little(!) creative toy of our excited scientists who develop leading complex biological assays. The rumors at some point is that it is so skillful, it maybe will serve you a sterile-warm dinner, if you program it the right way. 😊

Selvi Durmus is part of the Bit-Bio Collaboration at Charles River. This work was done in collaboration with Shushant Jain, PhD, Research Leader, in vitro Biology, at Charles River.

This story is part of our Art of the Science series, where we showcase the amazing  scientific art (images, movies and cartoons) created by Charles River scientists and outside scientists in the lab. Do you have a good idea for Art of the Science? Contact [email protected]