Cancer Center Molecular Interaction and Drug Screening Core

Dr. Luo at computer
Core: Cancer Center Molecular Interaction and Drug Screening Core
Core Co-Directors: Dr. Stewart Loh and Dr. Juntao Luo
Location: WH4251 (wet lab instruments) WHA6299 (in silico equipment)
Email: or

General: The core instruments are designed to detect and quantify binding of drugs to their biological targets as well as interactions between biomolecules. Each machine is equipped with a 96-384 plate reader or autosampler for rapid and automated library screening.

Core Fee Schedule: There is no fee to use this core. Please note that use of any of the instrumentation comes with the explicit agreement that if repairs are required, the costs will be shared proportionately by users’ departments.

TA Instruments Isothermal Titration Calorimeter (ITC). ITC is a gold standard in the study of biomolecular interactions because it does not require either binding partner to be chemically labeled, affixed to a surface, or modified in any way. Affinity and heats of binding are measured in plain buffer with the interacting partners in their native forms.

TA Instruments Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC). DSC measures the melting temperature of a native protein, without need for any modification or addition of reagent (e.g. fluorescent dye). Binding partners can be identified by perturbation of the melting temperature.

ForteBio Octet RED384 Biolayer Interferometer (BLI). Similar to surface plasmon resonance, BLI measures binding affinity and association/dissociation kinetics. Depending on the user's needs, a variety of crosslinking chemistries are available for affixing one of the binding partners to the sensor tips. The sensor tips are then dipped into solutions of targets to detect and quantify binding.

Molecular Devices SpectraMax i3x Microplate Detection Plaftorm. This instrument measures changes in spectral absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence that often occur when two molecules interact. It is equipped with fluorescence polarization modules (red and green detection, compatible with common biological and chemical fluorophores) for anisotropy assays.

Dr. Stewart Loh at computerComputational Modeling. Includes the computing station and software capable for virtual screening for drug discovery, molecular dynamics simulations on drug-protein or protein-protein complexes to validate binding models, and to study structure-based nano-carrier design for drug/protein delivery. The workstation is a Quantum TXR430-0512R tower equipped with 16 CPUs, 128 GBs of memory, and a 4 NVIDA Tesla GPU. Software includes the Schrodinger Drug Discovery package for virtual drug screening, quantitative structure-activity relationship modeling, and molecular dynamics simulations. Additional software includes MS Maestro for studies in material science.