The Sheffield RNAi Screening Facility was established in November 2008, as the UK's first Drosophila RNAi screening centre, funded by the University of Sheffield, Biomedical Sciences Department, Yorkshire Cancer Research and the Wellcome Trust.
Our facility was formed to service the needs of research groups wanting to carry out high-throughput RNAi screens with Drosophila cells and to provide RNAi libraries and the specialist equipment and expertise to do such screens.
We support both plate reader assays, high-content microscopy as well as the equipment needed to process these samples in a high-throughput fashion. We also offer other screening and validation reagents, for example, we can provide clients with 'cherry picked' hits, bespoke collections or predefined sub-set libraries.
This can either be used to identify genes involved in disease representing future drug targets, or to identify genes involved in biological processes.
The major role of our staff is to generate the libraries and to assist screeners through the process before they carry out their experiments at the facility.
Our mission is to make genome wide high throughput screening in Drosophila cells available to the wider scientific community. In order to do this we will:
- Assist groups with developing cell based assays. This includes online support, direct contact to the facility manager and the supply of assay development plates.
- Make available the necessary subset libraries and genome wide libraries available at low cost. Provide the space, physical infrastructure and equipment required to undertake screens here in Sheffield.
- Provide support for the post-screen analysis of datasets and hit picking required for validation experiments.
Please note: We are NOT a 'full service' facility that will do screens for you. We will assist you to do your screens based on our experience and background in screening. However, each individual screen is actually done by members of the external lab. We are not focused exclusively on the Drosophila research community.
We use Drosophila libraries because they represent a low complexity, low cost system amenable to RNAi screening. Experience suggests that a significant proportion of hits identified in Drosophila have been functionally conserved in vertebrate systems.