On November 6, VIB and KU Leuven opened the NextGenQBio platform. This state-of-the-art project was granted to VIB and the Stem Cell Institute Leuven (SCIL) within the purview of the Hercules Foundation financing for large scale research infrastructure.
The platform is unique in Belgium and combines several cutting-edge technologies. This will provide major insights into the basic biological mechanisms of complex systems and facilitate the translation of these insights into drug discovery programs.
A triple punch
The technologies involved are a centralized platform that connects high-throughput screening (HTS) technologies with high-content imaging (HCI) to enable high-throughput high-content screening (HT-HCS Added to this, a centralized cell culture platform was established for automated culturing of a broad range of cell types, including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). And to top it off, there is a package of comprehensive bioimage analysis software and IT infrastructure for data storage.
Prof. Catherine Verfaillie (SCIL, KU Leuven): “This triplet of technologies enables multi-parametric HCI on conventional cell lines, but also on human stem cells to capture human pathology as accurately as possible. By combining HTS with HCI and automated image analysis, the effect of a large number of perturbants can be assessed at the cellular level, including rare events and subtle alterations at the single cell and subcellular level.”
A tale of collaboration and location
The application was a joint initiative of prof. Catherine Verfaillie of SCIL and prof. Frederic Rousseau from the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research, backed by the expertise of VIB’s Core Facilities and the VIB Discovery Sciences team.
To provide the best possible technical support and available specialist knowledge, NextGenQBio is spread across two locations: the iPSC platform at the lab of prof. Catherine Verfaillie (SCIL, KU Leuven), and the BioIT and HT-HCS platforms at the Screening Core/C-BIOS (VIB, Ghent University) headed by dr. Dominique Audenaert.