High-Throughput Screening Facility

HiTS facility

The HiTS facility at the Department of Biology, University of Padova, consist of a fully automated liquid handling platform connected to a 37°C/CO2 incubator and of the confocal high Content Imaging System Operetta (Perkin Elmer). This infrastructure is suitable for a variety of fixed and live cell applications, allowing even time lapse experiments. Among the major possible application, we can list: TUNEL assays, morphological analysis of intracellular organelles and of different cell types, cell proliferation and migration, cell cycle studies, Fluorescence in situ hybridization, chemical compound or genome wide (or class wide, such as for example kinome) screenings; immunofluorescence, FRET. The system is suitable to image a broad range of biological samples from mammalian cells to isolated muscle fibers, from parasites to moss/plant preparation, to 3D models such as spheroids and 3D cell cultures.


The Hits Facility @Unipd includes:

1) The operetta High Content Imaging System equipped with a Plate handler Package, 14 Positions plate shelf, Cell incubator, heavy duty lab workstation with shield, Operetta Heavy duty Lab cart. The core of the imaging unit is a spinning disk microscope, that allows both fast widefield and confocal imaging. Despite Operetta has been designed for high content screening (HCS), it is a highly versatile system, allowing not only HCS applications but also imaging for routine cell biology studies. This imaging system enables unsupervised image acquisition from both slides or multiwell plates through its autofocus option. It harbours a 8 position dichroic wheel and the following emission filters are available in our instrument: 410-480nm; 460-550nm; 500-550nm; 520-560nm; 530-590nm; 560-630nm; 640-680nm; 650-760nm. As to the excitation, the following filters are available: 360-400nm; 410-430nm; 460-480nm; 490-510nm; 520-550nm; 560-580nm; 600-630nm; 620-640nm. Further, the Digital Phase contrast option revealed to be extremely useful for cell detection, allowing segmentation of non-fluorescent objects in the sample. The system is equipped with a XENON light source and the following objectives: 10X, 20x long working distance; 20x, 40x high Numerical Aperture.

2) Two Harmony software licences and Columbus Server (5 perpetual software licences), with the following PE proprietary patents WO2013068781, WO2013068780, WO2013038225 for image analysis, and WO2013038224 for PhenoLOGIC applications.

3) Precision XS pipetting system (Biotek) for sample preparation.

4) Qiacube for automated Miniprep preparation.


The High Content Imaging system Operetta and liquid handler Janus (Perkin Elmer) can be booked through the following website: http://service.biologia.unipd.it/gestione_dipartimento/login.

In case of large scale screenings (i.e. genome wide or >300 experimental conditions/compounds) the user must directly contact the technical service to reserve an amount of time adequate to the proposed experimental design.