What is high-content screening (HCS)?
High-content screening (HCS) encompasses high-content imaging (HCI), and high-content analysis (HCA), although all three terms are often used interchangeably. HCS is the umbrella term referring to the entire process of screening based on multiple parameters or assay readouts including phenotypic-based, high-content imaging assays.
Historically, high-content imaging and high throughput screening have been considered as two separate approaches. High-content imaging enables assay readouts at cellular or sub-cellular resolution, generating large, multivariate data sets. However, due to their complexity, high content imaging assays were limited in throughput and typically used in screenings of smaller, more focused libraries or in secondary screens.
High throughput screening, on the other hand, has the ability to screen larger amounts of compounds (or libraries). A screen is typically target based – the assay is designed around the specific molecular target or genetic perturbation.
The technological advancements in automated microscopes (robust auto-focusing methods, standard high-density imaging compatible plates) and improvements in image and data analysis software now enable high content screening at scale. Advances in lab automation, the availability of readily commercial integrating and scheduling software, and automation-compatible lab instruments are pushing the boundaries of high throughput screening.
AgileOptix HCS Technology for high-throughput, high-content screening for complex 3D biology
The ImageXpress® Confocal systems feature the revolutionary AgileOptix® Spinning Disk Technology for high-content screening (HCS) that enables simple, user-defined configurations to ensure maximum assay performance for both confocal and widefield imaging. Multiple confocal geometries are available including pinhole and slit confocal imaging—the only commercially available high-content imaging system with this option.
AgileOptix HCS technology makes it possible for the system to deliver the sensitivity and throughput needed for demanding applications by combining an advanced solid-state light engine, proprietary spinning disk technology, state-of-the-art optics, and a scientific CMOS sensor. The system acquires a >3 log dynamic range and captures publication-quality images while its large optical field of view maximizes collection of statistically-relevant data.
Increase imaging efficiency using our intelligent, QuickID Targeted Acquisition performed by the MetaXpress® software. For analysis of challenging and complex images, the AI-enabled solutions available in IN Carta™ Image Analysis Software provides a streamlined workflow with powerful deep learning-based segmentation, machine learning-based classification, and 3D volumetric analysis.
Molecular Devices can successfully tailor ImageXpress Confocal systems to include customized software and hardware with the features described herein, as well as integration of other lab components such as incubators, liquid handlers, and robotics for a fully automated work cell. Check out our new Organoid Innovation Center where we showcase these cutting-edge technologies with novel 3D biology methods to address key challenges of scaling complex 3D biology.
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Thanks to recent advances in imaging technologies, we are now able to observe and analyze complex cellular networks in three dimensions. However, 3D imaging is an intricate process with many complexities, from long image scanning times to low resolution and inadequate analysis tools. Learn about the common challenges faced in 3D cell imaging by reading our full-featured blog.
Learn how to overcome the challenges of high-throughput 3D imaging and analysis
Our high-content screening system with AgileOptix technology is a fully-integrated solution that addresses the many challenges associated with high-throughput 3D imaging. From out-of-focus haze or difficult light penetration to analysis bottlenecks and high-content data mining, we have a solution for you.
AI/Machine Learning and Deep Learning
The recent adoption of machine learning methods, an approach to achieve artificial intelligence (AI), in image analysis is rapidly gaining momentum in many research areas. Deep learning is part of a boarder machine learning algorithm based on an artificial neural network. Deep-learning architecture successfully solved complex analysis problems in medical, pathological, and biological imaging applications.
AgileOptix Spinning Disk Technology
Our proprietary AgileOptix™ Spinning Disk Technology is a microscopy innovation designed to run more complex, physiologically-relevant cellular models including 3D spheroids, tissues, live-cell assays, and whole organisms. This technology combines the clarity of confocal imaging with the throughput and well-known robustness of the ImageXpress® Confocal systems.
Cellular Imaging Systems
Our systems for high-content imaging (HCI) and high-content analysis (HCA) provide flexible scalability making it easy to evolve your system alongside your research. They feature options and modules to address your specific research including objectives, filters, imaging modes, and environmental conditions. All our systems support a wide range of applications, increased throughput, and streamlined workflows.
Cellular Imaging & Analysis
Researchers have several options in methods for imaging cells, from phase-contrast microscopy that shows intact cells to fluorescent imaging of single molecules or organelles. Cellular analysis is performed to evaluate and measure the current state of cells, such as cell integrity, toxicity, and viability and various other research applications. An integral part of cellular analysis is data collection, analysis, and export into a meaningful and useful format.
With the increasing use of highly-complex cell-based 2D and 3D assays in biologic research, there is a pressing demand for improvements to the capabilities of automated high-content imaging. The ImageXpress® Confocal HT.ai High-Content Imaging System is a high-throughput solution that utilizes an 8-channel high-intensity laser light source to penetrate into deep tissue while reducing exposure times and increasing focus.
Organoid Innovation Center
The new Organoid Innovation Center at Molecular Devices combines cutting-edge technologies with novel 3D biology methods to address key challenges of scaling complex 3D biology.
The collaborative space brings customers and researchers into the lab to test automated workflows for organoid culturing and screening, with guidance from in-house scientists.
Quick ID Targeted Image Acquisition
QuickID Targeted Acquisition works by acquiring an entire ﬁeld-of-view (FoV) of a sample at low magniﬁcation, ﬁnds objects of interest or rare events through a fast image analysis process, and then re-acquires only these wells or sites at high magniﬁcation with a user conﬁgured protocol that may include the relevant wavelengths, z-stacks, and time-points.
Water Immersion Objectives
Water immersion, in terms of high-content imaging, is the technology that automatically and consistently places a layer of water between the objective (magnification) and the sample.