Dr Asongwe Tantoh

ATantoh_Studying gene expression: An improved RNAi high-content/ high-throughput screening technology – Discovering more, faster, cost-effectively

Dr Asongwe Tantoh
Tantoh, a cell biologist with extensive experience in screening technology development, leads the high content screening platform at the CSIR. He has a Master’s degree in molecular biochemistry from the Stellenbosch University. He performed his doctoral thesis on the development and use of Persomics technology at the CSIR and the University of Cape Town. His experience ranges from technology evaluation and plate production to quality control.

About the talk: Microarray screening platforms, in which multiple biological experiments can be conducted in parallel, are becoming an increasingly popular approach. Traditional screening methods, such as systematic well-plate based screening using robotic or manual handling of samples and low-density arrays of printed siRNA, can be time consuming and expensive in resources and manpower.

The CSIR has developed a ‘movable type’, high-throughput printing technology capable of compressing up to 3 150 RNA-interference experiments onto a single glass slide that can be produced at 100 times the scale of existing technologies. This creates a genome screening technology that is portable, that is a standalone commodity and that can be treated as a consumable. It reduces the screening time from six weeks to six hours for a single screen and opens genome scale experimentation to questions that were previously inaccessible. The Persomics array technology was extensively validated within the CSIR.

With the growing pool of chemical compound libraries, there is an urgent need to find new quick and easy ways to profile the activity of these chemical compounds against hundreds of biological targets. The CSIR is currently adapting the Persomics array technology in small chemical compound microarray printing which will enable the screening of compounds in a fast and cost-effective fashion. Tantoh’s talk will discuss the potential of the Persomics state-of-the-art screening technology.

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