VIB Screening Core

The VIB Screening Core provides support in the development of miniaturized test systems/assays, which are relevant for a biological process-of-interest. In interaction with the scientists, the team of the VIB Screening Core enhances the technical reproducibility and robustness of an assay and makes it compatible with liquid handling and automation. Subsequently, a screening experiment is executed to identify substances that interfere with the assay. The aim is to accelerate the discovery of biologically active substances that can be developed into chemical probes to study biological processes and/or starting points to develop novel products for medical or agricultural applications.

The VIB Screening Core embeds the Centre for Bioassay Development and Screening (C-BIOS), a Ghent University Expertise Centre co-financed via the Special Research Fund (Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds, BOF). C-BIOS unites the expertise and research infrastructure of VIB, Ghent University and the Cancer Research Institute Ghent (CRIG) and provides a centralized platform to efficiently support assay development and screening for the broad Life Sciences research community.


Main services

  • Advising/assisting in assay development
    • optimizing, automating and miniaturizing the assay to 96-well or 384-well plate format
  • Assay evaluation
    • Z’ factor
    • signal-to-noise
    • signal-to-background
  • Screening and hit identification
  • Data analysis
    • Hit identification
    • Hit selection
  • Follow-up experiments for hit characterization
    • dose-response studies
    • cytotoxicity analysis
    • structure-activity analysis (SAR)
    • initial hit optimization

Compound collections

The compound screening collection of the VIB Screening Core amounts to a total of about 55,000 compounds. The total collection comprises several sub-libraries, from which researchers can select to screen in their project:

structural diversity collections

  • DIVERSet™ (ChemBridge Corporation; 10,000 compounds)
  • Diverse Set (Life Chemicals; 9,920 compounds)
  • Drug-like Diversity Set (Enamine; 19,200 compounds)

pharmacological diversity collection

  • Pharmacological Diversity Set (Enamine; 10,240 compounds)

protein-protein interaction (PPI) collection

  • PPI Set (ChemBridge Corporation, Life Chemicals; 955 compounds)

Additional smaller collections

  • Spectrum (MicroSource Discovery Systems; 2,400 compounds)
  • Clinical Collection (NIH; 727 compounds)
  • Mechanistic Set (NIH; 821 compounds)
  • Oncology Set (NIH; 97 compounds)
  • Natural Products Set II (NIH; 120 compounds)

siRNA library

The VIB Screening Core has acquired the Human siGENOME/ON-TARGETplus SMARTpool siRNA library (Dharmacon, Thermo Fisher Scientific) for siRNA screening. The library comprises nine distinct subsets, and each subset is available for screening separately. The different subsets include:

  • GPCRs (390 genes)
  • Ion Channels (352 genes)

  • Kinases (720 genes)

  • Phosphatases (257 genes)

  • Proteases (480 genes)

  • Ubiquitin Conjugation 1 (89 genes)

  • Ubiquitin Conjugation 2 (115 genes)

  • Ubiquitin Conjugation 3 (396 genes)

  • Drug Targets (4,795 genes)
    a set that contains additional genes of potential therapeutic interest, including genes involved in apoptosis, senescence, nucleic acid binding, autophagy, DNA repair and characterized nuclear receptors.

Aliquots of each subset can be delivered in 96- or 384-well plate format. Each well contains a mixture of four siRNAs targeting one gene, which provides advantages for both potency and specificity. Sequence information can be provided with all siRNA reagents.

Liquid handling and detection

State-of-the-art liquid handling platforms and a range of plate reader-based detection technologies are available at the facility.

Liquid handling

  • Freedom EVO200 (Tecan) with an integrated carousel, cooling blocks and vacuum manifold
  • JANUS Mini (PerkinElmer) with a varispan and liquid sensing
  • Biomek 2000 (Beckman Coulter), placed in a laminar flow


  • Absorbance
  • Fluorescence intensity
  • Fluorescence polarization (FP)
  • Time-resolved fluorescence (TRF)
  • Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
  • Enhanced luminescence
  • AlphaScreen

In addition, the VIB-CSF has access to a ScanR microscope-based imaging platform (Olympus) for image-based screening.


Kerchev P, Muhlenbock P, Denecker J, Morreel K, Hoeberichts FA, van der Kelen K, Vandorpe M, Nguyen L, Audenaert D, van Breusegem F. Activation of auxin signalling counteracts photorespiratory H2O2-dependent cell death. Plant Cell Environ. 2015 Feb;38(2):253-65. [pmid]

Xuan W*, Audenaert D*, Parizot B, Möller BK, Njo MF, De Rybel B, De Rop G, Van Isterdael G, Mähönen AP, Vanneste S, Beeckman T. Root Cap-Derived Auxin Pre-patterns the Longitudinal Axis of the Arabidopsis Root. Curr Biol. 2015 May 18;25(10):1381-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.03.046. Epub 2015 May 7. * equal contribution [pmid]

Kerchev PI, De Clercq I, Denecker J, Mühlenbock P, Kumpf R, Nguyen L, Audenaert D, Dejonghe W, Van Breusegem F. Mitochondrial perturbation negatively affects auxin signaling. Mol Plant. 2014 Jul;7(7):1138-50. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssu071. Epub 2014 Jun 5. [pmid]

Hu Y, Callebert P, Vandemoortel I, Nguyen L, Audenaert D, Verschraegen L, Vandenbussche F, Van Der Straeten D. TR-DB: an open-access database of compounds affecting the ethylene-induced triple response in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol Biochem. 2014 Feb;75:128-37. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2013.12.008. Epub 2014 Jan 4. [pmid]

Xuan W, Murphy E, Beeckman T, Audenaert D, De Smet I. Synthetic molecules: helping to unravel plant signal transduction. J Chem Biol. 2013 Mar 3;6(2):43-50. doi: 10.1007/s12154-013-0091-8. eCollection 2013 Mar 3. Review. [pmid]

Audenaert D, Nguyen L, De Rybel B, Beeckman T. Fully automated compound screening in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1056:3-9. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-592-7_1. [pmid]


The VIB Screening Core consists of the following members:



VIB Screening Core
UGent-VIB Research Building FSVM
Technologiepark 927
9052 Ghent - Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)9 331 38 40
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.