TAU logo
Israel Logo
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport

National Center for High Throughput Screening (HTS) of Novel Bioactive Compounds

"The main goal of the Center is to establish a focused, multidisciplinary drug discovery unit, which will coordinate the collection of biological material from diverse and unique sources, isolation of novel natural products and screening these products for potential biological and pharmacological properties"

The discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals has for centuries been a principal aspiration of many members of the bio-medical research community. At the present time, however, we are still unable to cure a vast majority of diseases, including cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease and arthritis; and there is also a growing incidence of drug-resistant infectious diseases. A significant effort and investment is thus still required in order to identify new potential treatments/cures. With this in mind, the National Committee of Biotechnology of the Israeli Ministry of Science has allocated funds for the formation of a National Infrastructure-Strategic Research Center to coordinate the search and discovery of novel compounds with pharmaceutical potential. The National Center for High Throughput Screening (HTS) of Novel Bioactive Compounds is headed by Prof. Ilan Micha of the Faculty of Life Sciences and by Prof. Yoel Kashman of the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University.


MarineImageThe primary objective of the HTS Center is to act as a core unit focused on coordinating the multidisciplinary search for novel compounds with potential biological and pharmacological properties. The HTS Center is currently coordinating a large number of different research groups involved in the collection of biological material from diverse and unique sources, in screening these materials for biological-pharmacological consequence, and in the isolation and structure elucidation of novel natural products. The research groups comprise of investigators from all the major research institutes in Israel, including Tel Aviv University, The Hebrew University, The Weizmann Institute of Science, The Technion Institute of Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, The Volcani Center, Bar Ilan University, Migal Research Company in Galilee and the Israel Institute of Oceanography and Limnology.

"The uniqueness of the Center lies in the coordinated cooperative effort of individual academic research groups, involved in a wide variety of different studies, towards a common goal of discovering new drugs and pharmaceutical lead compounds"

Despite recent advances in chemical methods that allow for the inexpensive and rapid generation of thousands of new chemicals using automation, the pharmaceutical industry still looks to the natural environment as an inspiration for novel compounds. Thus, the HTS Center is involved in the collection and isolation of natural products from marine and terrestrial microorganisms, plants and animals unique to the Middle East as a significant source for new drugs.
In addition to compiling a library of unique compounds, the HTS Center applies available biological assays and promotes the development of novel ones by Israeli researchers. These novel bioassays provide for distinct opportunities in the evaluation and detection of new potential drugs.

"The Center laboratory offers a highly versatile fully automated robotic system suitable for providing high throughput screening capabilities. This instrumentation enhances and facilitates the Center's competence in ascertaining its goal of novel drug discovery"


tecanrobot The current paradigm in drug discovery, resulting from the pressure for better, faster and cheaper drug development is to use HTS technologies. In order to implement the current methodologies of drug discovery the Center employs a fully automated robotic system. This system enables the HTS Center to obtain a high rate (throughput) of screening and consequently enhances the prospective of new drug discovery. Successful drug discovery relies heavily on the coordinated multidisciplinary effort of a number of research groups. The HTS Center promotes the collaboration and strategic cooperation of a variety of different research groups in the Israeli scientific community towards the common goal of new drug discovery.



The Center is comprised of three major types of activity groups that interact with the main laboratory:


Collection groups


Groups involved in the collection of biological material from diverse and unique sources

Chemistry groups

Groups participating in the isolation and structure elucidation of natural products or synthesis of novel chemical compounds

Bioassay groups

Groups involved in the development and implementation of bioassays for screening of natural products for biological-pharmacological consequence


The center offers the following services:

1. Adaptation and implementation of bioassay on the HTS robotic system.
    This includes:
    a.  A multi-tip pipetting station.  The pipetation can be used for a variety
         of life science and chemical applications, using microplates formats
         of 6 to 384 wells, with high  accuracy.
    b. Three incubators , each able to be individually heated.
    c. Washer for 96 wells plates.
    d. Spectrophotometer with three detection types:  Absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence.
    e. Two robotic arms, which can transport the plates between the different stations of the system.

2. Usage of the center's robotic system to screen the effect of the HTS
    center's natural products library on your assay.
3. Screening of your novel compound library for activity in a variety of
   assays performed by the HTS center.
4. Isolation and structure elucidation of selected active natural products
   from crude extracts.

The system is modular and flexible and can be adapted to wide

range of processes.


Contact information:   
Project Heads:
Prof. Micha Ilan
      Tel: 972-3-640-8613
      Fax: 972-3-640-7274
      Email: milan@post.tau.ac.il
  Prof. Yoel Kashman
      Tel: 972-3-640-8419
      Fax: 972-3-640-9293
      Email: kashman@post.tau.ac.il
Mailing Address:  
  National Center for High Throughput Screening (HTS) of Novel Bioactive Compounds
  Dept. of Zoology
  Tel Aviv University
  Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978