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Introduction

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The British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Target Discovery is based within and completely integrated with the Target Discovery Institute. The aims of the Centre are to use high-throughput and high-content cell-based genetic and small molecule screens to identify key genetic pathways that mediate cardiovascular disease, and to identify and validate novel druggable targets within these pathways.

Funding and Management

Funding to establish the Centre was provided by a BHF Program Grant Award (Professors Peter Ratcliffe, Shoumo Bhattacharya, Hugh Watkins, and Chris Schofield), BHF Chair and Program Grant Awards to Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya, and a BHF Centre of Research Excellence Award (Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya, Dr Angela Russell).

The Centre is managed jointly by the Principal Investigators, and integrates with other resources provided by the Target Discovery Institute. All cell screening is managed by Daniel Ebner, Cell Screening Officer.

Facilities and Use

The BHF Centre provides access to high-throughput screening equipment, libraries and screening expertise to all BHF funded scientists. Equipment provided by the BHF Awards include a Perkin Elmer Operetta High Content Imaging System and a Perkin Elmer Janus Liquid Handling Robotic Workstation.

Key screening libraries provided by the BHF Awards include Dharmacon mouse and human siRNA libraries, and small molecule libraries. With BHF funding, we (Shoumo Bhattacharya, Angela Russell) are developing a ~4000 small molecule custom TDI library where each  compound has a known biological target. We aim to cover the existing target space with this library which will also contain ~860 therapeutically used drugs. 

Staff provided by the BHF Awards include two Level 8 post doctoral fellows with expertise in developing imaging screens and in bioinformatics (vacancies to be filled) and a research assistant for screening (Alison Howarth).

We envisage that cardiovascular scientists at Oxford and elsewhere would interact closely with assay development specialists at the BHF Centre to develop and port assays to high-throughput format. High throughput screening with siRNA or small molecule libraries would be performed by Daniel Ebner and the screening team. Data analysis and bioinformatics would be performed by you with help from assay development specialists and bioinformaticians at the BHF Centre. Gene and chemical hits would then be further validated by your laboratory.