Turku Screening Unit awarded funding to expand Robotic Screening Capabilities

    The Screening Unit, in affiliation with Biocentre Finland Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology of Biocity Turku, has been awarded funding to greatly expand its robotic screening capabilities. The unit will acquire upgrades to automate the efficient assembly and measurement of assays for library and cherry-picked screening campaigns. It will facilitate large-scale compound and fragment library-based screens against novel drug targets. This forms a bridge of immense value between the Screening Unit’s leading strengths in virtual screening, drug design and medicinal chemistry on the one hand and advanced capabilities and expertise in automated image-based cell, organoid and small animal model screening and validation modalities on the other.

    This award will substantially improve infrastructure support available to scientists for the common strategic research priority of both the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in Drug Discovery, Diagnostics and Imaging and accelerate innovations in the areas of chemical biology, drug discovery and drug development.

    The upgrade will be installed at the main automation facilities hosted by the Turku Centre for Biotechnology. The upgrade in Turku will bring the Screening Unit’s facilities to an internationally competitive level aiming for participation as a specialised screening centre in the EU-OPENSCREEN European Research Infrastructure Consortium established in 2018, of which Finland is a founding member. This upgrade is enabled by the Academy of Finland funding programme for research infrastructures on Finland’s Roadmap, awarding a combined 204 587€ to the University of Turku coPI Adj. Prof. Michael Courtney and 50 111€ to Åbo Akademi University coPI Prof. Mark Johnson for the Screening Unit upgrade, together with 112 434€ to the Centre for Scientific Computing and 783 068€ to sites at the University of Helsinki for further instrumentation upgrades, staff and coordination activities.