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Cell Function & Screening Facility

The Innovation Centre's Cell Function & Screening Facility provides researchers access to state-of-the-art high-throughput/high-content cell instruments capable of revolutionizing the way we phenotype cells and screen novel therapeutics.

These technologies, funded by the NSW Government, allow high-throughput quantification of electrical signals, contraction, and calcium handling in cells and tissue. These phenotyping platforms facilitate disease modelling, drug screening, identifying new therapies and answering fundamental biological questions.

Cell Function Facility Medical Team

Cell Function & Screening Facility Equipment

Based at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute's new Innovation Centre, the Cell Function & Screening Facility features a suite of cutting-edge technology which will enable scientists to understand the mechanistic basis of heart diseases, across the population, in their search to solve the unsolved.

Syncropatch 384PE (Nanion)

High-throughput giga-seal patch clamp platform capable of simultaneous recording from 384 cells for drug screening or functional characterisation.

Syncropatch 384PE and a scientist

FLEXcyte 96/ CardioExcyte 96 (Nanion)

An automated, hybrid system that records both contractility and electrophysiology from cardiomyocyte networks for applications including drug screening or disease modelling.

CardioExcyte 96 Nanion close up

MAX X35 3D Printer (Asiga)

The world's most advanced 3D desktop lab printer with a resolution of 35 microns.

The world's most advanced 3D desktop lab printer

APEX Maestro Multielectrode Array (Axion)

A robotic multi-electrode array platform with capacity for automation of cell seeding, maintenance and recording of extracellular field potentials.

APEX Maestro Multielectrode Array (Axion)

Opera Phenix (PerkinElmer)

The high content screening platform for imaging the structure and molecular contents of cells.

Opera Phenix (PerkinElmer)

IC200 Kinetic Imaging Cytometer (Vala Sciences)

High throughput recording of cellular fluorescence signals from up to 100 cells per well in 96 well format.

IC200 Kinetic Imaging Cytometer (Vala Sciences)

Cell Function and Screening Publications


[1] Ballouz S, Mangala MM, Perry MD, Heitmann S, Gillis JA, Hill AP, Vandenberg JI. Co-expression of calcium and hERG potassium channels reduces the incidence of proarrhythmic events. Cardiovasc Res 2021;117(10):2216-2227;doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvaa280

[2] Heitmann S, Shpak A, Vandenberg JI, Hill AP. Arrhythmogenic effects of ultra-long and bistable cardiac action potentials. PLoS Comput Biol 2021;17(2):e1008683;doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008683

[3] Ng CA, Farr J, Young P, Windley MJ, Perry MD, Hill AP, Vandenberg JI. Heterozygous KCNH2 variant phenotyping using Flp-In HEK293 and high-throughput automated patch clamp electrophysiology. Biol Methods Protoc 2021;6(1):bpab003;doi: 10.1093/biomethods/bpab003

[4] TeBay C, McArthur JR, Mangala M, Kerr N, Heitmann S, Perry MD, Windley MJ, Vandenberg JI, Hill AP. Pathophysiological metabolic changes associated with disease modify the proarrhythmic risk profile of drugs with potential to prolong repolarisation. Br J Pharmacol 2021;doi: 10.1111/bph.15757


[1] Lei C, Fabbri A, Whittaker D, Clerx M, Windley M, Hill A, Mirams G, de Boer T. A nonlinear and time-dependent leak current in the presence of calcium fluoride patch-clamp seal enhancer. Wellcome Open Research 2020;5(152); doi:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15968.1.

[2] Ng CA, Perry MD, Liang W, Smith NJ, Foo B, Shrier A, Lukacs GL, Hill AP, Vandenberg JI. High-throughput phenotyping of heteromeric human ether-a-go-go-related gene potassium channel variants can discriminate pathogenic from rare benign variants. Heart rhythm 2020;17(3):492-500; doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2019.09.020.

[3] Perry MD, Ng CA, Mangala MM, Ng TYM, Hines AD, Liang W, Xu MJO, Hill AP, Vandenberg JI. Pharmacological activation of IKr in models of long QT Type 2 risks overcorrection of repolarization. Cardiovascular research 2020;116(8):1434-1445; doi:10.1093/cvr/cvz247

Cell Function & Screening Facility Case Study

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Cell Function & Screening Facility was in full operation. Dr Adam Hill and his team were at the forefront of COVID-19 research, examining the effects of various proposed therapeutics on the heart.

The research was conducted in the Cell Function & Screening Facility between March and July of this year and was driven in the lab by Clifford TeBay and Facility Head, Dr. Jeffrey McArthur, right through the midst of lockdown and the hardships faced during these months.

As you will be aware, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, alone or in combination with azithromycin, were proposed as therapies to treat COVID-19. However, there is currently only scant and inconsistent data regarding their proarrhythmic potential in these patients to guide clinical decision making.

The team was able to quickly examine the effects of these compounds alone and in combination and in conditions mimicking fever, electrolyte imbalances and other conditions implicated in the time course of COVID-19 infections.

Using the Facility's high-throughput automated electrophysiology platforms, the SyncroPatch 384PE and Apex Maestro Multi Electrode Array systems, data collected during this study included over 3000 individual datapoints, which if collected using manual electrophysiological measurement would have taken years.

Read about the COVID-19 Research

Bookings, Enquiries & Brochure

If you would like to learn more about the Cell Function & Screening Facility or enquire about booking any of the instruments, please contact:

Dr. Mohammed Atif
BSc, PhD, Lead Scientist, Cell Function & Screening Facility

Download Facility Brochure

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years