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Multimodal Imaging and High-Throughput Image-Processing for Drug Screening on Living Organisms on-Chip

D. Migliozzi, M. Cornaglia, L. Mouchiroud, V. Uhlmann, M.A. Unser, J. Auwerx, M.A.M. Gijs

Journal of Biomedical Optics, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 021205-1–021205-9, February 2019.



A major step for the validation of medical drugs is the screening on whole organisms, which gives the systemic information that is missing when using cellular models. Caenorhabditis elegans is a soil worm that catches the interest of researchers who study systemic physiopathology (e.g., metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases) because: (1) its large genetic homology with humans supports translational analysis; (2) worms are much easier to handle and grow in large amounts compared with rodents, for which (3) the costs and (4) the ethical concerns are substantial. Here, we demonstrate how multimodal optical imaging on such an organism can provide high-content information relevant to the drug development pipeline (e.g., mode-of-action identification, dose-response analysis), especially when combined with on-chip multiplexing capability. After designing a microfluidic array to select small separated populations of C. elegans, we combine fluorescence and bright-field imaging along with high-throughput feature recognition and signal detection to enable the identification of the mode-of-action of an antibiotic. For this purpose, we use a genetically encoded fluorescence reporter of mitochondrial stress, which we studied in living specimens during their entire development. Furthermore, we demonstrate real-time, very large field-of-view capability on multiplexed motility assays for the assessment of the dose-response relation of an anesthetic.


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AUTHOR="Migliozzi, D. and Cornaglia, M. and Mouchiroud, L. and Uhlmann,
        V. and Unser, M.A. and Auwerx, J. and Gijs, M.A.M.",
TITLE="Multimodal Imaging and High-Throughput Image-Processing for Drug
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JOURNAL="Journal of Biomedical Optics",
YEAR="2019",
volume="24",
number="2",
pages="021205-1--021205-9",
month="February",
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