THE MRC-AZ-UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE JOINT FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS SCREENING LABORATORY (FGSL)

The FGSL – a joint venture between our Institute at the University of Cambridge, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and AstraZeneca – aims to combine know-how and experience to accelerate the development of biomarkers and therapeutics for diseases through functional interrogation of the genome at scale. As part of the Human Functional Genomics Initiative,  the FGSL will form collaborations to explore how genes impact on complex phenotypes in development and disease. Hosted at our Institute as a cross-functional partnership, this laboratory aligns with our mission to combine the strengths of academia and business to accelerate the development of therapies.

The FGSL leverages the unique features of arrayed screening, whereby individual genes are edited via CRISPR/Cas9 in a plate-based format, to uncover the complexity of developmental and disease signatures using human in vitro models. To do this, the laboratory is equipped with a high-throughput screening platform that enables automated liquid handling and acquisition of high-content endpoints including spatial imaging and flow cytometry.

Funding is available for academic researchers from across the UK to access this state-of-the-art automated platform and in-house tools, to perform high-throughput phenotypic screening. A call for proposals for the FGSL is currently open, and further details can be found below.

The FGSL – a joint venture between our Institute at the University of Cambridge, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and AstraZeneca – aims to combine know-how and experience to accelerate the development of biomarkers and therapeutics for diseases through functional interrogation of the genome at scale. As part of the Human Functional Genomics Initiative,  the FGSL will form collaborations to explore how genes impact on complex phenotypes in development and disease. Hosted at our Institute as a cross-functional partnership, this laboratory aligns with our mission to combine the strengths of academia and business to accelerate the development of therapies.

The FGSL leverages the unique features of arrayed screening, whereby individual genes are edited via CRISPR/Cas9 in a plate-based format, to uncover the complexity of developmental and disease signatures using human in vitro models. To do this, the laboratory is equipped with a high-throughput screening platform that enables automated liquid handling and acquisition of high-content endpoints including spatial imaging and flow cytometry.

Funding is available for academic researchers from across the UK to access this state-of-the-art automated platform and in-house tools, to perform high-throughput phenotypic screening. A call for proposals for the FGSL is currently open, and further details can be found below.

Headshot of Dr Nicola McCarthy

Nicola McCarthy

Head of Research
Milner Therapeutics
Institute

Headshot of Dr Nicola McCarthy

Chun Hao Wong

Functional Genomics Screening Laboratory
MTI Lead

Headshot of Dr Nicola McCarthy

Davide Gianni

Senior Director, Functional Genomics
AstraZeneca

Headshot of Dr Nicola McCarthy

Ulrike Künzel

Functional Genomics Screening Laboratory
AstraZeneca Lead

Call for Proposals


The FGSL call for proposals is relevant to UK-based academics, small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and pharma who have complex human in vitro models, such as organoids, co-culture models, etc., amenable to arrayed CRISPR screening. Although the new laboratory will not be fully operational until January 2025, the call for projects is opening now to allow sufficient time for reviewing and selecting the most suitable proposals, and establishing collaboration agreements to maximise use of the new laboratory as soon as it opens.

How to apply
All information regarding the application process, the application form and arrayed CRISPR screens is available on the Functional Genomics Screening Laboratory space of the Connect: Health Tech (C:HT) online community. A review of submitted applications will take place in late May by the FGSL joint steering committee, which is made up of representatives from the MRC, AZ and the MTI, and a panel of scientists who are experts on arrayed CRISPR screens and complex in vitro human models.

Contact us
All applications and any questions not addressed with the FGSL space on C:HT should be sent to FGSLapplications@milner.cam.ac.uk.

Key dates
Call opens: 26th March 2024, with bi-annual reviews of incoming applications
First review of submitted applications: 20th May, 2024
Next review of submitted applications: November, 2024

Q&A Webinar
On 8th May 2024, we held a Q&A webinar to describe the FGSL and its call, and address common questions. A recording of the webinar can be viewed on YouTube.

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