Stem Cell Medicine

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Disease Modelling Facility

The Stafford Fox Disease Modelling Facility (SF-DMF) at MCRI offers an automated platform for high throughput/high content drug screening of patient’s induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) derived tissues. The facility was design to enable researchers with automated data acquisition tools and data processing for modelling disease and help achieve a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanism.

The objective of the SF-DMF is to enable researchers to progress in vitro disease models towards high throughput screening models for the identification of novel drug like compounds. We contribute with drug screening campaign design, assay development and validation and drug screening for the identification of new drug candidates for the treatment of inherited diseases using human cells and tissues.

Screening Platform

The facility has a fully integrated platform consisting of an automated liquid handling system (Fluent1080, TECAN), an automated rotary incubator Cytomat5, ThermoFisher) and a high speed confocal based imaging system (CV8000, Yokogawa). This platform was tailored to enable live high throughput screening of large human organoids. This is a world-first platform that aims accelerate human disease modelling and target validation.


Liquid handling system: Fluent 1080, Tecan

The Fluent1080 is a customised liquid handling platform for high throughput for protein coating, cell seeding, media changes and drug dispensing in a sterile environment.

Technical features:

  • HEPA Hood for sterile cell culture.
  • Flexible 8 channel liquid handing arm (volume= 200nl-5ml).
  • 384 Multichannel liquid handling arm.
  • 96 head adapter extension.
  • Wash block for 96 tips and washing station for 8 channel arm.
  • Gripper arm for microplate handling.
  • Fume exhaust.
  • Tilting carrier.
  • Shaker.
  • Bar code scanner.

Spinning disk confocal system: CV8000, Yokogawa

The CV8000 is a spinning disk confocal microscope fitted with four cameras for high speed imaging, allowing acquisition of all four lasers simultaneously. The system is also equipped with an airtight cell incubator for long term image acquisition. The system it’s also equipped with an automated pipetting arm for addition of drug compounds during imaging for acute response measurements.

Technical features:

  • CO2 and temperature control for extended time-lapse acquisition.
  • Laser and software autofocus.
  • Fours CMOS cameras.
  • Four lasers (405nm, 488nm, 568nm and 640nm).
  • Six objectives lenses available for automated imaging:
    • Dry Lenses: 4x, 10x (long working distance), 20x and 40x.
    • Immersion Lenses: 40x (water) and 60x (water).
  • Dispensing unit for live drug addition.
  • Automated acquisition and data processing software.

Automated rotary incubator: Cytomat5, ThermoFisher

The Cytomat5 is an automated incubator with a capacity to house 105 96 or 384 well plates. Our Cytomat5 is fully integrated to our CV8000 confocal imaging system for automated programmable imaging. It is also integrated to our liquid handling system (Fluent1080) for scheduled automated media changes and drug addition.


Sample handler: Precise Flex400, Precise Automation

The Precise Flex is a sample handler that facilitates plate transfer. It has been integrated to transfer plates between our imaging platform, liquid handling station and incubator to facilitate automated and schedule screening and sampling.

Data handling and Data analysis – CellPathfinder, Yokogawa.

Data is automatically backed up onto our storage servers for redundancy.


The services provided by the Disease Modelling Facility are highly specialised and customised to each screen, with each project varying on a case-by-case basis. Each project will require of one, multiple or all of the following available activities:

  1. Automated plate protein coating.
  2. Automated plate cell seeding.
  3. Automated media changes.
  4. Automated drug dispensing.
  5. High throughput bright field and fluorescence imaging.
  6. High throughput bright field and fluorescence imaging with drug dispensing.
  7. Post processing sample preparation and immunostaining.
  8. Data processing and analysis.

Therapeutics Innovation Australia 

The MCRI Disease Modelling Facility is an NCRIS Therapeutics Innovation Australia (TIA) consortium facility. For information on TIA Access Vouchers, please refer to their website.





Contact Us

Please contact Dr Alejandro Hidalgo Gonzalez and the Disease Modelling Facility team for a discussion around workflow and a quote.