HTS and Drug Discovery

Overview of Services


The Nemours High-Throughput Screening (HTS) & Drug Discovery Lab is one of only a few such facilities worldwide dedicated exclusively to technology development and drug discovery for rare childhood diseases underserved by current pharmaceutical development efforts. Projects are aimed at discovering novel chemical probes useful to further biological understanding of pediatric disease, and to provide lead compounds for pre-clinical and clinical development.


Translational drug discovery research is multidisciplinary in nature, requiring a broad range of knowledge and technical skill to be assembled and coordinated. The HTS Core at Nemours works with researchers who have expertise in pediatric disease biology for selection of appropriate target and disease models. Our lab teams up with Computational Biologists and Medicinal Chemists for in silico screening and chemical synthesis, and commonly joins forces with Bioinformatics, Molecular Biologists, Protein Scientists and others for mechanistic studies and lead characterization.



  • Perkin Elmer Envision Multilabel Platereader 
    • Versatile detection technologies including AlphaScreen, fluorescence, luminescence, absorbance, fluorescence polarization, time-resolved fluorescence (HTRF) and TR-FRET
    • Integrated barcode reading and plate stackers 
  • Perkin Elmer Janus Liquid handling robotics 
    • 384-well pintool (50 nl) 
    • 384-well head for tips (0.5 – 30 μl) 
    • Variable position pipetting arm 
  • BioTek MultiFlo Select Reagent Dispenser 
    • low volume dispensing 
  • Plate stackers & sealers 
  • Fully equipped tissue culture & sterile screening lab
    • adjoining main HTS lab
  • Advanced data handling 
    • Oracle™ database 
    • Curve fitting and analysis software

Screening Libraries
Over 200,000 compounds to date

  • MicroSource Spectrum – 2,000 drugs & natural products 
  • TimTec NPL & NDL – 3,600 natural products & derivatives 
  • Lankenau Chemical Genomics – 96,000 small molecules 
  • ChemBridge DIVERset– 100,000 small molecules 
  • Natural Products Discovery – 1,920 fungal, plant, and bacterial extracts


  • Target selection 
  • Assay design & validation 
    • 384-well HTS compatible
    • Biochemical & cell-based assays
  • Pilot screening & target profiling 
    • against pharmacologically active compounds representing most target classes 
  • HTS & follow-up 
    • dose-response & selectivity testing of hits from 200,000 compound library
  • Data analysis

Funding Model


Nemours High-Throughput Screening facility operates on a collaborative model encompassing early stage project planning with investigators and joint effort pilot projects. Seed funding is used to generate preliminary data to support multi-PI grant applications focused on HTS and chemical probe discovery, such as PAR-14-283 High-Throughput Screening to Discover Chemical Probes (R21) and PAR-14-284, High-Throughput Screening to Discover Chemical Probes (R01).


As a DE-INBRE affiliated core in the COBRE-funded Nemours Center for Pediatric Research, the HTS & Drug Discovery Lab encourages collaborations with COBRE and INBRE-funded investigators for target acquisition, assay development, and pilot HTS. Our collaborators are eligible to apply for Center Core Access Awards supported by DE-INBRE grant P20MG103446.


Contact us to request a project consultation.


Sigrid Langhans


(302) 651-6538


Karen Sperle

Research Associate

(302) 298-7243

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location



       Nemours Biomedical Research 

       200 Powder Mill Rd


       Wilmington, DE 19803

Links and Resources

  1. Center for Pediatric Research
  2. Delaware Core Facilities
  3. Academic Drug Discovery Consortium


Name Role Phone Email Location
Sigrid Langhans
Lab Head
(302) 651-6538
Nemours AI duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19803
Kathy Drake
HTS Specialist
(302) 298-7243
Nemours AI duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19803
Karen Sperle
Research Associate
(302) 298-7243
Nemours AI duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19803