Cellular Phenotypic Analysis

‌We currently have an open call for proposals for funding for Cellular Phenotypic Analysis projects which may be relevant to you.

Do you have an in vitro cellular system that you believe could reveal new biological pathways, which is compatible with medium throughput screening?

Would you benefit from advice on whether your platform is amenable to medium throughput screening?

Then please contact the Centre’s Director: Dr Carl Goodyear – Director@glazgodiscoverycentre.co.uk  

The GLAZgo Discovery Centre, in collaboration with the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Innovative Medicines unit (RIA IMED) at AstraZeneca, is offering an alternative way of identifying novel biology for future collaborative research. Using predefined or customizable compound libraries from AstraZeneca, researchers will be able to interrogate defined in vitro cellular assay systems in a medium throughput way, to unravel biological pathways not yet known to play a role in the biological process.  The compound hits identified can be used as in vitro pharmacological tools for subsequent experimental examination of biological processes.  In addition based on the hits observed other compounds may be identified that can be used for further evaluation (e.g. to look at selectivity) or in some cases where appropriate for in vivo studies.

It should be appreciated that the in vitro assay system that you have in mind has to be compatible with medium throughput screening. Furthermore, it should also align with the scope of the GLAZgo Discovery Centre: research into immunology and inflammation. This includes a wide range of cellular biology but excludes areas that are outside of the remit of the Centre including oncology, neuroscience, cardio-metabolism, infection (except related to respiratory disease) & vaccines.

Examples of Phenotypic Screening Definitions;

  1. Any assay that runs on an integrated platform with a medium throughput (~50 - 1000 compounds)
  2. Measures cellular response: e.g. cell shape, receptor expression, secreted factor
  3. Measures the function of a cell that helps to define its phenotype, which could include differentiation state
  4. Measures a readout that is about the function of a cell in response to a challenge / stress / stimulus

GLAZgo and AstraZeneca will help with assay design, personnel, consumables and equipment. Examples of available compound libraries include those that target kinases, chemokine receptors and nuclear receptors. In addition, experts at AstraZeneca can assist in the design of compound libraries that are specific to your area of biological expertise. 

How to apply

Please submit a maximum 3-page proposal to the Centre’s Director. The proposal should include no less than the following sections; 

1.     Background
        1.1.  Include information about any biology already known about proposed cellular system
        1.2.  Discuss why you think there is a gap in our knowledge that the phenotypic screen will address
2.     Objective(s)
3.     Methodology
        3.1.  Discuss the cell system and its relevance:  Ideally this should be human and preferably primary
                 cells.  If not please discuss the pros and cons of your system to primary human cells.
        3.2.  Define the readout (e.g. shape, cell marker, supernatant marker):  Ideally two readouts that
                 compliment each other to be used as primary readout and then a secondary to filter further
                 if there are too many hits.  
        3.3.  Discuss the relevance of the matrix: 2D, 3D, plastic or other etc
        3.4.  Discuss potential classes of enzymes, receptors, etc you think might be relevant and if you are aware
                 of any positive or negative controls.
        3.5.  Please indicate if you have any microarray or RNASeq, or proteomic data that could help with the
                 de-convolution of hits (Please note that the methodology section does not require the final in vitro
                 assay system but should provide information on your biological system)
4.     Expected outcomes
5.     References

Review Process:

This is a rolling call and proposals can be evaluated at each scientific steering committee (SSC) meeting.

  1. Submitting your Proposal;  Please contact the Operations Manager at the Centre (Ashley.gilmour@glasgow.ac.uk) to book your proposal in for review at a SSC meeting.  Proposals must be submitted no less than 4 weeks before the meeting it will be reviewed at.  Where submissions are received after the deadline every effort will be made to schedule them for review at the next meeting, however in some cases, submissions may need be postponed to the subsequent meeting.  After submitting a proposal to the GDC for review at a SSC meeting you will receive a Project Submission Acknowledgement form via email.  This acknowledgement will advise you which meeting your proposal will be reviewed at.
  2. SSC Review; should the SSC vote favourably on the project proposal a list of questions may be compiled and these will be sent to the proposer on the Project Submission Acknowledgement form by email as soon as possible after the meeting.  Where required, a video conference will be scheduled approximately 1 week after the meeting for the proposer to discuss the questions issued by the SSC.
  3. Final Decision; After evaluating the proposal the SSC can recommend that the project is either:
        (i)   Awarded for work to be performed within the Centre
        (ii)  Recommended for further discussion on screen concept or libraries
        (iii) Rejected based on lack of alignment with the Centre’s scope or other
        (iv) Recommended to be re-worked for sending to AZ’s Open Innovation
  4. Notification of Final Decision;  You will be notified of the SSCs final decision on the Project Submission Acknowledgement form by email. 

What happens after the screen is performed:

Depending on the results;

  1. Further compounds can be identified for follow-up work
  2. GLAZgo Discovery Centre may agree to do some validation using for instance siRNA
  3. GLAZgo Discovery Unit may take this on a full project
  4. Proposer can progress study through for instance a third year project, preliminary data for grant application etc. 

If you would like to discuss your idea please feel free to drop in and chat to the Centres director, Dr Carl Goodyear, or email him - Director@glazgodiscoverycentre.co.uk

Submit a Project Proposal

Please submit a maximum 3-page proposal to the Centre’s Director: Dr Carl Goodyear – Director@glazgodiscoverycentre.co.uk.  The proposal should include the following sections – (i) background, (ii) objective(s), (iii) methodology and (iv) expected outcomes.

Please note that the methodology section does not require the final in vitro assay system but should provide information on your biological system.

This is a rolling call and proposals will be evaluated at each Scientific Steering Committee meeting.  Please contact the Centre; opsmanager@glazgodiscoverycentre.co.uk, if you wish to know when the next SSC will be held.