High throughput 2D and 3D cell and whole-organism screenings in nanoliter format on Droplet-Microarray platform

Recorded On: 02/05/2018

Small molecule high-throughput screenings are essential for the fields of drug discovery and toxicology. Hundreds of millions of compounds are screened every year. In these screenings, compounds are tested against molecules (biochemical screens), cells, 3D cellular systems and even whole organisms. Routine screenings in academia and pharma industry are performed in microtiter plates. The main drawbacks of using microplates for large experiments are, first, relatively high volumes and therefore high reagent and cell consumption, and, second, requirement of pipetting robotics. Due to these reasons not every biological laboratory can afford high throughout experiments. Another essential drawback is incompatibility with large screenings of rare but physiologically relevant cells such as patient-derived primary and stem cells due to restricted amount of cell material. We have developed a technology that allows for screenings of cells in 2D and 3D environment and of whole-organism in miniaturized array format. Droplet-Microarray technology is based on patterns of hydrophilic spots separated from each other by superhydrophobic, water repellent, regions. The difference in wettability of spots and borders generates the effect of discontinuous dewetting and enables spontaneous, without pipetting, formation of arrays of separated droplets of nanoliter to microliter volumes trapping live cells and even small animals. In the past years we developed all necessary protocols for culturing cells in 2D and 3D environment, parallel addition of compounds and reagents to individual droplets and performing various phenotypic assays with read-out based on microscopy. Here I will present our latest developments and results on compound screenings on patient-derived leukemia cells, tumor spheroids and embryonic bodies. Droplet-Microarray is universal platform that is compatible with various biological assays including compound screenings and transfection-based assays on different cell types (adherent and suspension cells, stem cells, and primary cells), 3D spheroids, hydrogels and embryos. We believe that this technology will open a new opportunities for high-throughput screenings that were not affordable or possible with other technologies till now.

Anna Popova

Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG) , Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Dr. Popova graduated from the department of Cell Biology and Immunology of the Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia. She performed her M.Sc. on “Investigation of polymorphism of latent membrane protein 1 of Epstein-Barr virus” in Institute for Carcinogenesis, Blokhin Cancer Research Center, Moscow. While working on her Master’s Degree she performed part of the project in Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. After graduation Dr. Popova worked as junior scientist in Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Moscow, Russia on “Mechanisms of termination of protein translation”. During this project she worked as a guest researcher in Institute for Medical Physics and Biophysics, University Hospital Charite, Berlin, Germany. Dr. Popova obtained her Ph.D. in Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Since January 2014 Dr. Popova is working as postdoctoral fellow in Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG), Karlsruhe, Germany.

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