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NPSC Facilities

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NPSC is an industry-standard phenotypic screening facility embedded in world-class academic centres, with ready access to a range of cutting-edge target deconvolution technologies to take phenotypic hits forward.

Intro Text and Image

Intro Text and Image

Our laboratories house robotics, high content screening instruments, compound libraries and informatics that are operated to industry standards.

We can develop complex cellular assays, execute medium to high throughput phenotypic screens, and analyse the resulting high content data for hit discovery. Our IT systems are enterprise-level and we take data security and confidentiality very seriously. Our image and chemistry database system allows confidential data to be handled securely, and be only visible to trusted users and clients.  

We also have the capacity to carry out target deconvolution on phenotypic screens that look promising from a research or commercial perspective.

We are pround to have created a dynamic and exciting work environment and have recruited approachable and enthusiastic staff who are specialists in a wide spectrum of relevant disciplines. This means our facility is interdisciplinary and we feel we gain a lot of our strength from being open-minded about who can contribute positively to our enterprise. Our power is also in the collaborative nature of our centre, which means we can capitalise on a diverse community of world class experts from Dundee, Edinburgh and Oxford, as well as reach out to the wider community for excellent science, technology developments and assay ideas. 

Dundee Section Title

University of Dundee

NPSC's University of Dundee hub is a 300m2 newly refurbished laboratory dedicated to assay development and high throughput multiparametric phenotypic screening.

Screening laboratory: our large openplan screening lab houses 2 High Res Biosolutions Modular Robotic Systems (9-sided microstar and 6-sided microstar). Our High Res systems allow interchange of several key devices enabling flexibility in phenotypic assay workflow design.  

The 9-sided Microstar is within a Biological Safety Level 2 (BSL2) enclosure for sterility and assays involving class II organisms (e.g. certain viruses and bacteria). There is also an offline compound handling area with a Tecan Evo 100, a Cybio Felix and benchtop centrifuge. 

Microstar 9: CV7000 HCS system; SteriStore D cell incubator (336 96/384-wellplate capacity); TundraStore D Compound store (>500,000 compounds in 1536-well plates); AmbiStore D plate hotel (336 plate capacity); ELX405 plate washer; Tempest and Mulitdrop combi liquid dispensers; Echo555 nL liquid dispenser; MicroSpin; PlateLoc; Xpeel.

Microstar 6: Echo 550 nLliquid dispenser; ELX405; Tempest; AmbiStore D

Dockable Device Pool: Incell 2200 HCS System; Image Xpress Micro HCS System; iQue Screener HTF system; Infinite M1000Pro Multimode plate reader; Enspire multimode plate reader with label-free EPIC technology; Bravo liquid handler.

Cell culture Suite: Spacious suite; 4 Class II safety cabinets; 6 incubators; cell counter; microscope; centrifuges; multidrop combi within one safety cabinet.

Assay Development and Prep Labs: 2 fully equipped wet labs for traditional bench work and reagent preparation with two adjoining 4-person offices.

Informatics Suite: 6-person office for informatics and computation work

Compound and Cryostorage: long term compound storage at -20oC in environmentally controlled pods; -80oC freezer, -20oC freezer and a high capacity cell cryostorage. 

Data Centre: Enterprise-level data storage (1.1 PetaByte Dell PowerVault array with IBM Spectrum Scale System and Tape backup) plus 240-core computation cluster.

You can find out more about the equipment below

The NPSC laboratory is based within the large School of Life Sciences Research Complex and has access to all the local services, facilities and scientific expertise as well as a dynamic and collegiate academic work environment. The School of Life Sciences at Dundee was rated the best UK University for Biological Sciences in the 2014 REF.

World-class specialist services and facilities at the University of Dundee School of Life Sciences that can be accessed by NPSC staff and collaborators include:

Centre for Advanced Scientific Technologies (CAST)

  • FingerPrints Proteomics Facility

  • Human ES/iPSC cell core

  • Advanced Light and Electron Microscopy

           - OMX Blaze Super-resolution Microscope

  • Crystallography and Analytical Centrifugation

  • Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core Facility

  • NMR Facility

  • Oligonucleotide Synthesis

  • Transgenesis Service

MRC PPU Technologies and Services

Tayside Centre for Genome Analysis

High Content Screening Systems & Readers

High Content Screening Systems & Readers

High Content Screening Systems & Readers

CV7000 Cell Voyager


High Content Screening System: 

Ultra-fast Confocal HCS system - 3 large format sCMOS camera for simultaneous imaging, dual spinning disk confocal mode and epifluorescence mode, transmitted light mode, liquid dispensing, live cell imaging.

Robotics, Plate, Compound and Liquid Handling

Robotics, Plate, Compound and Liquid Handling

University of Dundee Equipment

9 Station Microstar

HighRes Biosolutions

Industry-standard modular robotic system, with up to 9 dockable carts for devices, which allows the reconfiguration of workflows. The Dundee 9star system has several devices in fixed positions: CV7000, TundraStore D, Microspin, plate sealer and desealer, plate washer, 2 different bulk liquid handling devices, an Echo 555 and an Ambistore plate hotel. The Steristore D is dockable and there are two other dockable positions for additional readers. The system is inside a Biological Safety level II enclosure.

Oxford Section Title

University of Oxford

NPSC's University of Oxford hub is within the high throughput screening lab located in the Target Discovery Institute.

NPSC’s Oxford hub carries out assays development and high throughput screening from a laboratory based in the Target Discovery Institute (TDI), which is a new research centre initiated by the Nuffield Department of Medicine and the University of Oxford with a mandate to develop new target screening methodologies, investigate disease pathways as a means for identifying 'drug targets' and advance therapeutically relevant targets for drug development.

The aim of the high throughput screening facility at the TDI is to provide research scientists with access to a comprehensive, cost-effective facility capable of running high throughput cell based small compound and RNAi screens as well as biochemical small compound screens.

The Target Discovery Institute (TDI) is a major new collaborative research initiative led by the Nuffield Professor of Medicine, Professor Peter Ratcliffe, FRS. Strategic investment through the Department and collaborative use of existing research resources from the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, the Department of Oncology, specifically the Radiation and Oncology Unit, the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Structural Genomics Consortium enabled the Target Discovery Institute High Throughput Screening Facility (TDI HTS) to operate for two years before the institute was fully established in the new NDM Research Building. The TDI now encompasses several groups including Chemical Biology, Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry and Medicinal Chemistry.

High Content Screening Systems & Readers

High Content Screening Systems & Readers

Oxford - High Content Screening Systems & Readers

InCell 6000

GE LifeSciences  

High Content Screening System:

IN Cell Analyzer systems are designed to deliver the throughput and performance you need for both high content analysis (HCA) and high content screening (HCS) of fixed and live cells, and allow the high throughput acquisition of high quality images. Automated in Oxford with a HRB 6 station microstar

Robotics, Plate, Compound and Liquid Handling

Robotics, Plate, Compound and Liquid Handling

University of Oxford Equipment

6 Station Microstar

HighRes Biosolutions

Modular robotic system, with 6 workstations, which allows the addition, removal, and relocation of material and devices. Read more about the 6 station MicroStar robot.

University of Edinburgh Section Title

University of Edinburgh

The mission of the Edinburgh Phenotypic Assay Centre (EPAC) is to develop state-of-the-art cell based assays suitable for medium- to high-throughput screening. Our screens are designed to utilise both chemical and natural product as well as si/sh/sg RNA libraries.

EPAC will link clinical and basic research groups with the latest innovations in automated imaging, image-informatics, biological modelling and assay screening standards.

The Edinburgh Phenotypic Assay Centre has been established by experienced cell based screening scientists to assist both academic researchers and pharmaceutical partners. We provide guidance and training to help researchers translate their novel experiments into high throughput screening ready assays in which the pharmaceutical industry maybe interested and we collaborate with researchers to perform screens in an academic setting. EPAC staff develop their own high throughput-ready screens for specific in house research or collaborations with the Phenomics Discovery Initiative and National Phenotypic Screening Centre. We intend to develop novel and robust, disease-relevant cell culture screening systems, including 3D models, mixed cell culture and differentiated stem cell assays to advance drug discovery across disease areas.

Work at the Edinburgh hub of the Phenomics Discovery Initiative will be carried out at the Edinburgh Phenotypic Assay Centre (EPAC) a joint initiative between Edinburgh’s renowned School of Medicine and Biological Sciences spear-headed by Professors Neil Carragher, Margaret Frame and David Gray.

Key strengths include:

  • Close collaboration with clinicians and physician scientists to develop disease-relevant assays

  • Strong track record in working with the pharmaceutical industry

  • Assay development across a wide range of disease areas

  • Development of image-informatics analyses for phenotypic screening

Section Title

High Content Screening Systems & Readers

University of Edinburgh Equipment

IncuCyte ZOOM

Essen Bioscience

A dual fluorescent and phase contrast, live cell imaging microscope (resident within a tissue culture incubator capable of maintaining normoxic or hypoxic cell growth conditions), which uses automated image acquisition to generate kinetic data.

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Robotics, Plate, Compound and Liquid Handling

University of Dundee Equipment

Biomek FX and Cytomat

Beckman Coulter

A dual head, automated liquid handling robot with highly adjustable programming, allowing fully customised pipetting solutions for assay set up and execution, with an attached plate and micropipette tip handling system and barcode reader.


NPSC is a facility run and operated by the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Oxford, which are registered UK-based charities. 

Copyright © 2016.