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Assay Development

Assay Development

This Initiative is will fund the development and adaptation of biological assays for use in automated high throughput molecular screening (HTS). The intentions of this Initiative are to promote the development of automated screening projects that can be submitted to the MLSCN via this mechanism.

High throughput molecular screening (HTS) is the automated, simultaneous testing of thousands of distinct chemical compounds in models of biological mechanisms. Active compounds identified through HTS can provide the starting point in the design of powerful research tools that allow pharmacological probing of basic biological mechanisms, and which can be used to establish the role of a molecular target in a disease process, or, its ability to alter the metabolism or toxicity of a therapeutic.

The immense potential of HTS to impact our understanding of biological mechanisms is largely untapped because access to automated screening facilities and large compound libraries is limited in academic, government and non-profit research sectors. Many in vitro biological models are currently used to study biological pathways, the effects of genetic perturbations and to establish a disease association. These can be adapted to high throughput formats for the purpose of screening large collections of biologically active compounds.

There are a number of characteristics that make an assay suitable for high throughput approaches. The assay must be robust, reproducible and have a readout that is amenable to automated analysis. In addition, it must be possible to miniaturize the assay, for example; to a 96-well plate (or higher density) format or flow-cytometric approach. Further, the assay protocol should be simple enough for automated handling. A broad range of models share many of these features, including biochemical assays, cellular models and certain model organisms such as yeast or C. elegans.

This initiative will support the development of innovative assays for use in both basic research and in therapeutics development programs, with an emphasis on novelty of assay approach and/or novel targets and mechanisms.

Data Sharing

As the objectives of each Assay Development for HTS RFA may be somewhat unique, so may the particular data sharing plans associated with them. Interested investigators are strongly encouraged to review the data sharing plans of each RFA in concert with the specific aims of the particular Announcement.

  • See ‚ÄúSection V.” of the Assay Development for High Throughput Molecular Screening (R03/R21) RFA-RM-06-004

Further Information

Please see the left menu for Assay Development projects funded in the pilot phase, or see Funded Research for all ML initiatives

For MLPCN phase Assay Development information, see Tech Development

For currently available funding opportunities, see Funding Opportunities

Or contact:

Mark Scheideler, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Information about the RFA is also contained at the following NINDS webpage: