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BSF ACCESS is a bundle of expertise for assay validation, execution and evaluation. This is an essential support for both young and experienced researchers who want to perform screens. Open laboratory facilities are also available to support researchers with specific instruments.


Support from idea to final result
Tasks and services of the BSF previous to and during screening campaigns include consulting, projects advising, guiding and support.  BSF ACCESS provides the following services:

  • Assay development, assay design compatible and amenable to HTS, protocols and SOPs transfer, optimization of experimental conditions.
  • Assay automation, development and validation of automation assays, pilot screens with a limited number of compounds, screening scale up.
  • Compounds management storage, reformatting, aliquoting. cherry picking and plating of compounds collections.
  • Data management using in house developed Laboratory Implementation Management System (LIMS).


  1. Biochemical, cellular target-based and phenotypic cellular assays (i.e. high-content screening) are implemented at our platform in 384 and 96 wells plates for gene knockdown and chemical interference screens including :
    – RNA interference (RNAi) cellular screens for probing gene function using large collections of small synthetic double stranded RNAs (small interfering RNAs, siRNAs) covering and targeting whole genome.
    – Screening of chemicals (small molecules and naturals products) for a variety of biochemical target-based assays and cellular biological phenotype-based assays using large chemically diverse collections.
  2. Libraries of chemicals and siRNA: A highly diverse chemical library, including the Swiss Chemical collection (SCC from Swiss Chemistry labs) has been established that comprises approximately 100’000 compounds from various commercial sources including a few specific libraries. This assembly of chemical compounds provides large coverage of the chemical 3D-structural space for drug–like molecules, and contains admitted drugs, man-made compounds as well as natural compounds. A large collection of RBAi’s targeting about 50’000 human and mouse genes allow a detailed and genome-wide interrogation of the involvement of gene products in biological processes of interest.
  3. The robotic infrastructure of ACCESS like the liquid handling systems, including acoustic pipetting and the appropriate expertise provide support in assay development and automation for the screens to be performed. BSF ACCESS proposes a wide variety of multimode readouts for collecting total microtiter-well signal and automated fluorescence microscopy for screening by imaging. Massive screening experiments such as  “hig- throughput screens” (HTS) or image-based “high-content screens” (HCS), and the necessary data management and analysis systems to evaluate these results are available.
  4. Hit confirmation is the final step to validate the hits through more detailed experiments establishing e.g. dose-responses dependency, and excluding artefacts.
  5. Open access to infrastructure: BSF ACCESS  supports open access to a broad range of fluidic handlers, multimodes readers, automated microscopes and other devices and regularly postgraduate training via formal workshops and seminars.

Do you want to run a screen at BSF ACCESS?

To submit a project, you will have to follow three steps :
Step 1 : informal exchange of information
Step 2 : a screening proposal submission (please download the form here:
Step 3 : evaluation, implementation and validation of the assay

According to current human and infrastructure resources available and using statistics based on deliverables for the period 2013-2015, BSF ACCESS has the operational capacity for handling and finalizing 15-20 primary screening projects per year of different kinds and sizes according to the number of compounds involved.

It is important to highlight that most of the projects require hit confirmation, which are not accounted for in the above statistics. These steps are time and resources consuming with respect to the relative low number of data points generated but they represent necessary high added-value tasks to any screening campaign.


To discuss about your project or get information on the facility, fees and prices, please contact Dr. Gerardo Turcatti, Director of ACCESS.  Special fee policy are applied to the NCCR Chemical Biology labs.

BSF ACCESS is funded by the NCCR Chemical Biology and the Swiss NSF.