Small Molecule Discovery

Updated: March 28, 2022

The information provided below is a recap of the CBC Tech Day 2012: Small Molecule Discovery in Academia.

The CBC Tech Day 2012 was held at the Prentice Women’s Hospital on July 9, 2012. The main goal of Tech Day was to provide the CBC community with ‘soup to nuts’ information about the steps involved in Small Molecule Discovery in Academia. The following topics were discussed and are summarized below: Libraries and High Throughput Screening Facilities; Screening Assay Development; Optimizing Hits: MedChem, Computational and Structural Approaches, and a discussion about building a Chicago Pipeline.

Panel Discussion Handouts AND Presentations are now available to download from the list below.


High Throughput Screening Facilities
Moderator: Eric Weiss (NU)
Panel Members: Sam Bettis (UChicago), Chi-Hao Luan (NU), Kiira Ratia (UIC)
(Download Chicago HTS Handout)
(Download Chicago HTS Presentation)

Screening Assay Development: How to avoid pitfalls
Moderator: Shohei Koide (UChicago CBC Scientific Director)
Panel Members: Siquan Chen (UChicago), Sara Fernandez Dunne (NU), Shahila Mehboob (UIC)
(Download Screening Assay Development Handout)
(Download Screening Assay Development Presentation)

Available Libraries: What’s special and how to choose
Moderator: Geoffrey Greene (UChicago)
Panel Members: Sergey Kozmin (UChicago), Brian Murphy (UIC), Karl Scheidt (NU)
(Download Available Libraries Handout)
(Download Available Libraries Presentation)

Optimizing Hits: MedChem, Computational and Structural Approaches
Moderator: Brian Kay (UIC CBC Scientific Director)
Panel members: Wayne Anderson (NU), Sergey Kozmin (UChicago), Jie Liang (UIC), Pavel Petukhov (UIC), Karl Scheidt (NU), Greg Thatcher (UIC)
(Download Optimizing Hits Handout)
(Download Optimizing Hits Presentation)

Creating the Chicago Pipeline
Moderator: Andrew Mazar (NU, Entrepreneur-in-residence)
Panel members: Joe Barrett (Senior Director, Corporate Technology Development, Baxter), Kevin Haug (Director, New Frontier Science, Takeda), Steve Kuemmerle (Head, Venture Investments, Abbott)
(Download Creating the Chicago Pipeline Handout)


The three CBC university-based HTS facilities each have an array of chemical libraries and assays, as well as the instrumentation and expertise to screen thousands of compounds. In addition, the facilities offer a variety of specialized capabilities:

  • Northwestern’s High Throughput Analysis Laboratory (HTA) provides a broad range of screens, including tissue culture assays, biochemical analysis, and experiments involving microbial strain collections. The HTA lab is uniquely strong in its nanoliter liquid handling expertise and performing assays that require highly parallel kinetic analysis.
    Facility overview: pdf slide presentation
    Facility website:
    Contact: Chi-Hao Luan, Director; Email:
  • University of Chicago’s Cellular Screening Center (CSC) has a robotically-integrated screening platform set up in a class-100 clean room, which allows sophisticated experiments with tissue culture cells under essentially sterile conditions. The facility’s automation capability allows an exceptionally high throughput.
    Facility overview: pdf slide presentation
    Facility website:
    Contact: Siquan Chen, Director; Email:
  • The University of Illinois Chicago HTS Facility offers access to liquid handling platforms that are integrated with a range of assay equipment and instruments for photometric analysis. The HTS facility provides access to over 100,000 drug-like compounds.
    Facility overview: pdf slide presentation
    Facility website:
    Contact: Kiira Ratia, Director; Email:

To learn more about the individual HTS facilities contact the HTS directors directly.


▸ HTS Supplemental Grant Program Description and RFA