New Centre for Bioassay Development and Screening (C-BIOS) launched to support early-stage drug/agro discovery

2 June 2017
​High-content analysis implies multi-parameter imaging of (sub)populations of cells, single cells and subcellular events that can be applied in a set-up compatible with high-throughput screening and automation. Recently, VIB, the Special Research Fund (BOF) of Ghent University and the Cancer Research Institute Ghent (CRIG) have co-invested in this technology, which led to establishment of the Centre for Bioassay Development and Screening (C-BIOS), i.e. a Ghent University Expertise Centre that is fully embedded within the VIB Screening Core. Next to investments in a state-of-the-art high-content screening (HCS) device (Operetta, PerkinElmer), a fully new screening platform was set-up that integrates HCS technology with liquid handling and a broad range of detection technologies for high-throughput applications. C-BIOS offers centralized and cost-effective support to HCS, liquid handling and automation.

Dr. Dominique Audenaert (Head of the VIB Screening Core): “C-BIOS is a strategic partnership between VIB, CRIG and the research group of Prof. Peter Vandenabeele (VIB – Ghent University) that offers both the academic research community and biotech/pharma companies access to HCS infrastructure and expertise. This joint effort between CRIG, Ghent University and VIB will open avenues to generate chemical tools/probes for the study of biological processes and to validate targets/modes-of-action for a range of disease areas. The activities of  the VIB Screening Core/C-BIOS can be positioned in the early stages of drug/agro discovery.”

Prof. Jo Vandesompele (Chairman of CRIG): “The co-investment by CRIG fits within a larger project, granted by the ‘Foundation against Cancer’, to develop platforms to study (single) cancer cells. In addition to the HCS device, complementary platforms were acquired, providing a boost to multidisciplinary cancer research in Ghent. “

The C-BIOS team will operate the platform and assist researchers in the development and validation of bioassays relevant for disease and/or biological pathways. The infrastructure is compatible with bioassays in cellular model systems, 3D cell cultures, unicellular model organisms and small model organisms (e.g. Arabidopsis thaliana, zebrafish). Combined with the screening infrastructure, these bioassays can be applied to analyse a large number of samples in high-throughput fashion. A diverse set of 45,000 drug-like synthetic molecules, a set of 2,400 known drugs/bioactives and a human siRNA collection (8,000 genes, the druggable genome) is available to set-up these high-throughput screenings.


VIB Screening Core
The VIB Screening Core provides the Life Sciences research community support in the development of miniaturized test systems/assays that enable high-throughput screening. In interaction with the scientists, the team of the VIB Screening Core enhances the technical reproducibility and robustness of an assay and makes it compatible with liquid handling and automation. The aim is to accelerate the discovery of biologically active substances that can be developed into chemical probes to study biological processes and/or starting points to develop novel products for medical or agricultural applications. Over the years, the VIB Screening Core has provided support in a broad range of assay development and screening projects, for both academic and industrial clients. More information:  

Dominique Audenaert and team