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Three Dementias Platform UK Centres involved in the Stem Cell Network (Oxford, Cambridge, University College London [UCL]) have taken proud possession of an Opera Phenix high-content imager from Perkin Elmer.

The Phenix represents the state of the art in high-throughput imaging using spinning disc confocal microscopy equipped with four cameras and five lasers for simultaneous acquisition to minimise bleed-through across channels. The system will allow rapid analysis of live or fixed cells in 96 or 384-well plates with focus in the DPUK Stem Cell Network of phenotypic screens for target identification and drug discovery in neurons and glial generated from patients with dementia and related disorders.

The Network focuses on the generation and analysis of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from DPUK cohorts of patients with AD, PD, FTD and MND. Network laboratories at Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford, and UCL will differentiate patient iPSCs in neuronal (cortical, dopaminergic, medium spiney, motor) and glial (astrocytes, macrophages/microglia) subtypes for analysis on the Phenix systems.

The DPUK Stem Cell Network, is headed by Professor Richard Wade-Martins (Oxford), and the work is supported by a new MRC Partnership Award led by Professor Siddharthan Chandra (Edinburgh).

Professor Wade-Martins said: “Together, the ability to work with previously inaccessible cells of the brain and image with the Opera Phenix in three Centres is extremely powerful. Each Opera Phenix came with an Opera Phenix-shaped cake which got the training sessions off to a flying start!”