High Throughput Screening Core Overview

UT Southwestern's High Throughput Screening Core (HTS) was founded by Steven McKnight, Ph.D., in 2002. The Core supports the early, pre-clinical discovery and development of new small molecule therapeutics, and assists in identifying and characterizing novel biological targets and pathways for therapeutic intervention. Therapeutic areas include, but are not limited to, cancer, neurodegeneration, metabolic diseases, antivirals, and parasitic infections.

The first goal is addressed through full-file and subset screening of our compound library (+330,000 compounds) and by supporting confirmation, dose-response studies, and secondary activity profiling of selected hit compounds as well as synthesized and purchased synthetic analogs. Advanced project support for hit-to-lead optimization is also provided by the HTS Core and encompasses structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies, bioassay-guided fractionation of natural products, computational chemistry, cheminformatics and bioinformatics support, and data storage and integration via our Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

Our second principal goal, discovery of novel therapeutic targets and biological pathways, is accomplished by screening genome-wide siRNA libraries and supporting confirmation and characterization of genes and pathways identified as points of therapeutic intervention. We also offer an arrayed CRISPR library to further studies where a full knock out of a given gene is desired over a knock down, which is typically achieved with siRNA’s.

We are highly valued collaborators for UTSW principal investigators and members of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. The HTS Core is supported through funding from the Simmons Cancer Center (an NCI-designated Cancer Center), National Cancer Institute, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

About the HTS Core Director

Bruce Posner, Ph.D.
Professor in Biochemistry

Prior to joining the faculty at UTSW, Bruce Posner, Ph.D., was a senior scientist and a principal investigator in the High Throughput Screening Center of Emphasis at Pfizer, Inc. In that capacity, he led more than 60 HTS campaigns and identified more than 20 hit-to-lead starts for early drug discovery programs. Two of these chemical series were submitted to first-in-human clinical trials. He also has expertise in informatics (data storage, management, retrieval, and visualization) and chemoinformatics, which has proven invaluable to pre-clinical drug and target discovery efforts. He has served as Director of the HTS Core at UT Southwestern since 2009. His activities include directing projects in the Core; mentoring staff scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students; co-writing grants for screening and lead discovery projects as well as shared instrumentation; managing fiscal operations and long range planning; and co-authoring peer-reviewed papers.

HTS Core Scientists

Group photo outdoors
HTS Core Members: Back row (L to R): Hanspeter Niederstrasser, Ph.D. (Screening Scientist), Prema Latha Mallipeddi, Ph.D. (Cheminformatics), Anwu Zhou, Ph.D. (Bioinformatics), Bruce Posner, Ph.D. (Director), and Irvin Garza (Screening Scientist). Front row (L to R): Shuguang Wei, Ph.D. (Screening Scientist), Melissa, McCoy, Ph.D.(Screening Scientist), and Hong Chen, Ph.D. (Screening Scientist and Data Analyst)