Random-access microscopy for high-throughput optical screening


Published: 11Oct2019

Invention 2018-066

Random-access microscopy for high-throughput optical screening


A new optical based high-throughput screening platform for cardiac and neuronal cells was developed at McGill University.


Market Need

Current optical based high-throughput screening platforms for cardiac and neuronal cells are based on designs that have intrinsic limitations. Systems rely on precise mechanical translation of samples to an optical microscope which introduces complexity and high cost while limiting the number of samples that can be simultaneously addressed. This in turn limits scalability and poses challenges for long term maintenance of equipment. In addition, many platforms are impractical for long-term drug studies as a limited number of samples must remain in the microscope’s field of view, while still being kept under environmental control.


Technology Summary

With this invention, a novel optical design allows for true random-access microscopy with near simultaneous measurements from several independent samples with no moving parts, all within a standard incubator. This optical configuration is suited for high-throughput screening and long-term monitoring of excitable cells. With low component costs and limited complexity compared to conventional optical designs, this technique is easily scalable and could be used in a variety of situations to understand neural or cardiac signal propagation and cellular properties during excitation or inhibition assays. Incorporation of optogenetic stimulation and dye-free detection tools will also allow for contactless manipulation and detection of key ion properties.



  • Low complexity and component costs with easy scalability
  • Long-term monitoring of excitable cells or other live preparations in standard incubators
  • Near simultaneous measurements from several independent samples for random-access microscopy


Patent Status

Filed US


Contact Information

Jarred Chicoine
Innovation and Partnerships
jarred.chicoine [at] mcgill.ca
Office Phone: 
Mobile Phone: 
Back to top