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The Inaugural Winner of GE Healthcare High-Content Analysis (HCA) Award Achieved 20-Fold Increase in Throughput

Published: Friday, October 29, 2010
Last Updated: Friday, October 29, 2010
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The inaugural winner of the first GE Healthcare HCA Award has been announced. Supported by BioTechniques, the Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of HCA to scientific understanding and celebrates its positive impact on data quality and quantity, resulting in increased productivity, deeper insights and better decisions.

The winner of the first HCA Award is Dr Michael Freeley from the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), who investigates how white blood cells (T lymphocytes) move in the body during an immune response. Movement of T lymphocytes from the blood stream into target tissues is crucial in an effective immune response against disease-causing organisms, but unregulated migration of T lymphocytes is also a major contributor to auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. A better understanding of this process could ultimately lead to treatments that selectively block this migration in these diseases.

Dr Freeley and his co-researchers, including some from the National Centre for HCA at TCD, used the IN Cell Analyzer from GE Healthcare to measure a wide range of morphology and fluorescence parameters associated with signaling pathways and proteins that regulate T lymphocyte migration. This is allowing them to define the crucial proteins much more rapidly and providing an easy, interpretable screen from complicated morphology readouts. They also demonstrated that measuring multiple parameters increased the sensitivity of hit selection, which helps in reducing the number of false positives.  

“We are delighted to receive the first HCA Award,” said Dr Michael Freeley. “Quite simply, the scale of work that we performed could not have been done by manual means, and we estimate that the HCA approach has increased our throughput at least 20-fold. Capturing the same number of fields manually would have taken in the region of 400 hours instead of 20 hours, with the IN Cell Analyzer image analysis software saving us a considerable amount of time.”

“The excellent quality of the entries certainly made judging difficult,” said Dr Joe Trask, Head of Cellular Imaging Core at Hamner Institutes of Health Services, and a member of the judging panel.  “The winning entry showcased the immensely positive impact of HCA on research today and demonstrated how the IN Cell Analyzer’s technology saved invaluable time to produce high quality scientific data that, crucially, was also publishable.”

“This multiparameter approach has great potential to increase insights in a wide range of chemical and RNA inhibition screens” added Dr Nick Thomas, Principal Scientist at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, and member of the judging panel.

Entries were welcomed from scientists using IN Cell Analyzers. Entries were reviewed by an expert scientific panel comprising Dr Joe Trask, Head of Cellular Imaging Core at Hamner Institutes of Health Services, Dr Nick Thomas, Principal Scientist, Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare and Dr Patrick Lo, Associate Editor, BioTechniques. The HCA Award will be presented to Dr Michael Freeley and his co-author Dr Dara Dunican, at the 50th American Society of Cell Biology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

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