Chemical Biology Core Research Facility

Compound Screening Facility


The Screening Core Facility is focused on evaluating natural products and small molecules against validated cancer targets and pathways that are the focus of UH Cancer Center faculty and researchers. The centralized core facility facilitates the screening process to identify new lead compounds for further biochemical and biological studies. Working with medicinal chemists, these efforts are directed toward the goal of discovery and development of suitable chemical probes with potential therapeutic application.  The departure of the Laboratory Manager has created an opening for the position that is likely to be filled in 2023.

Assays and Screening activities

The Screening Core houses the UH Cancer Center's Natural Products Library, a collection of pure compounds and extracts from the endemic species in the Hawaiian Islands. Natural product chemists are involved in the maintenance of cyanobacteria cultures, extracts preparation and fractionation, and the purification and identification of bioactive and other components. Synthetic and medicinal chemists, and biologists are involved in the evaluation of samples and lead optimization efforts. Investigators are developing in vitro and cell-based smart assays that are used to identify bioactive natural product compounds capable of selectively and potently altering key cancer targets. Several medium throughput screening assays using modern robotics equipment are being developed as part of the Compounds Screening Core Facility. Target-focused assays include Stat3, RSK, ion channels (offered through the sister core at The Queen's Medical Center), p53, HMGB1, Fructose transport, Bile acid transport, Aurora A, and receptor tyrosine kinases. Other assays focus on signaling pathways, such as integrin signaling.

High Field NMR

The Chemical Biology Core Research Facility houses a 600 MHz NMR spectrometer that is maintained and operated by the UH Chemistry Department that is available for small molecule and protein work to support all drug and chemical probe discovery at the UH Cancer Center. All common 2D routines are available as well as the assistance of a skilled operator to set up experiments, collect and display data and to contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the results, if necessary. This high field spectrometer represents an important upgrade of the university’s research infrastructure that leverages many years of experience within the Chemistry Department.