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Imaging-based Phenotypic Screening is an extremely powerful and flexible approach to drug discovery and pre-clinical research. Learn how imaging-based phenotypic assays work and what kind of information you can expect from working with us.

The table below compares the types of applications that can be performed using traditional plate readers, flow cytometry and via high content imaging.

Typically, plate readers are best suited to high throughput screening (HTS) approaches that use biochemical outputs from cell-free or cell-based systems. An example of a widely used plate reader assay platform is FLIPR (Molecular Devices), used to measure population level fluorescence or luminescence and scalable to 1536-well plate formats.

Flow cytometry and Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) are cell-level measurement methods well-suited to analysis of suspension cells. FACS has the unique capability of allowing scientists to capture cells with certain fluorescence-based attributes and flow cytometry is highly amenable to multiplexing multiple fluorescent labels. But both methods are fundamentally limited to measurements at the single-cell level only. This limitation means that neither flow format is able to distinguish labels based on their subcellular location (e.g. nucleus versus cytoplasm) nor distribution within an organelle (e.g. punctate versus diffuse plasma membrane staining).

Imaging-based measurements are quantitative and extremely versatile making them well-suited as a platform technology to study a broad range of biological systems from simple 2D monolayers, to co-cultured neuronal cells and 3D spheroids.

Click on example Assay Types below to learn more about how these imaging-based phenotypic assays work.

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