High-Throughput Bioscience Center (HTBC)

About the HTBC

Recent advances in genetics and chemical synthesis have fostered novel strategies for biomedical research, and the high-throughput liquid-handling and data acquisition instrumentation in the High-Throughput Bioscience Center (HTBC) enables Stanford faculty and students to exploit these new scientific approaches. For example, the sequencing of entire genomes and the development of techniques to selectively alter gene expression now permit the rapid functional evaluation of essentially any gene product. The screening of natural products and synthetic chemicals for biologically active compounds is also emerging as a powerful complementary approach for deciphering biological processes.

Utilizing the HTBC, Stanford researchers can conduct systematic and comprehensive screens of biological systems involving genetic and/or chemical perturbations. Possible approaches include the use of: (1) cDNA libraries for in vivo or in vitro protein expression; (2) siRNA libraries for targeted gene silencing; and (3) chemical libraries for the identification of small molecule modulators of specific biological processes. The HTBC was founded by Professor James Chen with initial funding from the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology (formerly Molecular Pharmacology), but is available to the entire Stanford research community and other institutions. Research conducted in the HTBC will broadly advance our molecular and cellular understanding of human health and disease by promoting the use of genome-wide approaches in the biomedical sciences and the advancement of chemical biology research. The HTBC is also a core facility in the Stanford Cancer Institute and the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (Spectrum).


Operation. Screening proposals are submitted to the HTBC Steering Committee consisting of James Chen (lab) (Professor and Chair, Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Professor of Developmental Biology, by courtesy, Chemistry, Faculty Director, High-Throughput Bioscience Center), David Solow-Cordero (Director, High-Throughput Bioscience Center), Amato Giaccia (Professor, Radiation Oncology - Radiation and Cancer Biology), Jeffrey Glenn (Associate Professor, Medicine - Gastroenterology & Hepatology and Microbiology & Immunology), Matthew Bogyo (Professor, Pathology and Microbiology & Immunology), and Bruce Koch (Senior Director, Discovery and Technological Service Centers, Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Research). Projects are then prioritized according to scientific criteria and their time requirements, and NIH-supported biomedical/behavioral research are given precedence. This committee is also responsible for the facility's budget and provide operational guidelines. David Solow-Cordero manages the facility's day-to-day operations and assists its users with assay development and data management. Projects approved by SPARK or pre-approved by the HTBC Director are also given priority and access to the facilities resources.

Instrument Time Allocation. Once a project is approved and deemed appropriate for the facility's resources, the researchers involved with this project will acquire instrumentation time through the HTBC Director. In general, instrumentation time will be allocated on a first come-first serve basis, and a sign-up policy will be employed. The HTBC Director, however, will have some discretion in the scheduling of projects that require extensive instrumentation time (i.e. more than 6 hours of continuous use). Requests for intrumentation usage can be processed very quickly with the requirements of registering on iLabs and short training session (External Users register here). Users who want to perform small molecule or siRNA screens must also fill out an HTBC Screeners Agreement Form after an initial consultation meeting with the HTBC Director.

User Fees. Operational costs for the HTBC are charged to users on a “rate” basis. Rates are formulated to recover recurrent costs such as salaries, benefits, equipment maintenance, depreciation, and the facility's materials and supplies. The Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, the Dean's Office, donations, and the Centers listed above are subsidizing the operating costs until user fees can fully support these expenses.


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