February 27, 2013

CBC Announces a New Program: High Throughput Screening (HTS) Awards

In response to the community-wide interest in High Throughput Screening (HTS), the CBC is offering a 1:1 HTS Matching Grant Program to help fund innovative small molecule discovery. The intent of this program is to support pilot projects involving biomedically-relevant targets using a HTS facility located at one of the CBC universities. The three CBC university-based HTS facilities provide 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 has unique strength in nanoliter liquid handling and assays that require highly parallel kinetic analysis.
    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 website:
    Contact: Siquan Chen, Director; Email:
  • The University of Illinois at 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 website:
    Contact: Kiira Ratia, Director; Email:

Unlike other CBC award programs, cross-university collaboration is not required to apply for the CBC HTS Award. However, investigators are expected to use the CBC university-based HTS facility that best suits their project, regardless of university affiliation. The CBC HTS Award will match half of the justified expenses (up to $20,000) of a small molecule screening project via direct payment to the selected HTS facility.  Applicants may be CBC university affiliates of any rank (e.g. graduate students, fellows, research faculty, or tenure-track faculty). The individual providing the non-CBC matching funds (“Sponsor”) must be identified on the application.  Projects must be biomedically-related, and screening assays must be clearly explained (preferably validated) and approved by a HTS facility director. (Note: Applicants should work with HTS facility directors to design appropriate assays.) Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of the three HTS facilities operational directors, the CBC Scientific Directors, and faculty members associated with the HTS facilities. 

Applicants must discuss potential projects with the director of their preferred HTS facility prior to submitting an application.

For information about the application process and deadlines, see HTS Award RFA.