High Content Analysis Core

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
What the facility does

Offers the advanced equipment and expertise required to manage and automate large-scale experiments in areas such as drug discovery and single cell analysis

Area(s) of Expertise

The High Content Analysis (HCA) Core houses state-of-the-art equipment that facilitates large-scale experiments. Our two key areas of expertise are single-cell sequencing and screening services.

Single Cell RNA (scRNA) sequencing: The HCA Core can perform sampling of up to 10,000 cells in parallel for scRNA sequencing projects and has all the equipment necessary for downstream preparation, quantification, and quality control assessment of prepared libraries. In addition, our core has the high-performance computer capacity and expertise required for bioinformatic analysis of large raw data sets generated from scRNA sequencing, converting them into data sets suitable for visualization and analysis.

Screening services: The core provides technical support in the planning, execution, and analysis of siRNA and compound screens. The facilities include automated liquid handling systems that enable precise and fast handling of a large number of samples. Several siRNA and compound libraries are available free to use in-house and the facility has the infrastructure to aid such large screening experiments. Two fully operational tissue culture rooms are able to handle biosafety level 2 experiments. An automated imaging system and automated fluorescence and luminometer plate readers are available for output readings.

Research Services
  • Core staff-performed single-cell sequencing, library preparation and data analysis
  • Core staff-assisted library screening services
  • Guidance and assistance to plan, set up, and troubleshoot single-cell sequencing and screening projects
  • Selection and curation of custom-built compound and siRNA libraries assistance
  • Hands-on training for data acquisition equipment (e.g. plate readers and automated image acquisition)
  • Genome-wide human and mouse shRNAs available
  • Consistent instrumentation maintenance and quality control
  • Core-organized seminars and vendor presentations
Sectors of Application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment



Chromium 10X (10x Genomics)

Partitions single cells into an emulsion allowing for the sequencing of thousands of individual cells in parallel

JANUS Expanded Deck Automated Liquid Handling System (PerkinElmer)

The JANUS workstation is a robotic liquid handling system, which can handle 96 and 384 samples in parallel. This equipment is housed in a class 2 biosafety cabinet. This system gives us the capability of conducting experiments involving BSL2 cell culture.

Operetta High Content Imaging System (PerkinElmer)

Imaging system designed for high content screening experiments. High quality images are first captured from the wells of cell culture plates (for up to 96 wells) and then analyzed to answer biological questions at the cellular level.

EnVision Multilabel Plate Reader (PerkinElmer)

High-speed detector of fluorescence intensity, fluorescence polarization, time-resolved fluorescence, luminescence, and absorbance. This reader accepts microplates with 1 to 3,456 wells on a 50-plate stack magazine with a barcode reader for high throughput application.

LI-COR Infrared Scanner (LI-COR Biosciences)

Two-color infrared scanner that scans membranes or fixed cells in cell culture plates



Cover of Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 220, Issue 8, 15 October 2019. Image acquired at the HCA Core using the Operetta System.