Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics


4 Minute read

Functional genomics determines how genes and their products contribute to different biological processes. The Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics helps biomedical researchers solve specific biological questions.

The Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics (VCFG) helps you perform high-throughput screening using a range of gene-targeting and drug-targeting approaches. The team works with you from initial experimental design, through to screening and data analysis. You are embedded in the lab and receive training on how to use certain equipment in the VCFG facility. You drive the project with support from the VCFG team.

The VCFG team has expertise in all aspects of functional genomics. With support from the team, you can perform:

  • small-scale and large-scale customised screening in both 2D and 3D models
  • high-throughput drug interaction studies
  • drug screening – for use in drug discovery
  • CRISPR gene editing – to knock out, over-express and inhibit protein-coding genes of interest
  • RNA interference – to knock down genes in primary, non-dividing and standard cell lines
  • customised analysis – to better understand drug and gene interference or editing responses
  • 3D automated embedding using cell lines, patient-derived xenograft cells or patient-derived organoids
  • high-throughput imaging – using standard wide field, bright field, fluorescence, confocal and time lapse.

Your project is fully managed by the VCFG team. All project details and data are stored securely on a fully interactive portal.

Projects that the VCFG has been involved in include:

  • developing a robotic pipeline to embed patient-derived cancers in 3D organoids. This allows researchers to measure growth kinetics using customised imaging. They can also perform drug screens and drug interaction studies in organoids to analyse cell viability and morphological differences in response to different drugs. This project is a collaboration with Professor Frederic Hollande’s group.
  • performing high-content imaging analysis of stem cell lines that represent age-related macular degeneration. Once these lines have been characterised, the VCFG team will perform drug screens to identify compounds that delay progression of the disease. This work is carried out in collaboration with Professor Alice P├ębay as part of a project funded by the Medical Research Future Fund.
  • helping researchers from the Doherty Institute (and then the Hudson Institute of Medical Research) to perform a whole-genome siRNA screen of Legionella pneumophila. This bacteria causes Legionnaire’s disease, a type of acute pneumonia. With support from the VCFG, the researchers discovered that host-derived ubiquitin pathways influence the persistence and survival of Legionella in humans.

Visit the Centre


The VCFG has a broad range of equipment, gene libraries, reagents and other materials.


  • human whole-genome arrayed sgRNA library (Horizon Discovery)
  • CRISPR KO Brunello (human) and Brie (mouse) pooled libraries
  • CRISPRa Calabrese (human) and Caprano (mouse) pooled libraries
  • CRISPRi Docetto (human) and Dolomiti (mouse) pooled libraries
  • TransEDIT dual guide whole-genome human arrayed viral library
  • Cas9 and dCas9 virus, Cas9 protein
  • nucleofection reagents

RNA interference

  • protein-coding small interfering RNA (siRNA) – arrayed, whole-genome or boutique screens
  • human and mouse siGENOME and siON-TARGET-plus libraries
  • pooled and arrayed lentiviral shRNA-mir30 whole-genome library (pGIPZ)
  • microRNA (miRNA) over-expression and inhibition (human)
  • long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) siRNA (human)

Compounds are obtained from Compounds Australia at Griffith University. Researchers are welcome to bring their own compounds.

High-throughput imaging

  • Cytation 5 plus BioSpa – automated imaging with 8-plate incubator and plate reader functionality with kinetic options
  • Cytation 10 – automated imaging, spinning disk confocal microscope and plate reader
  • Cellomics CX7 and CX7-LZR – for wide-field, confocal, live-cell imaging, 5–7 channel fluorescence and up to 60x magnification
  • Incucyte SX5 live-cell microscopy and analysis platform

Liquid handling

  • BioTek 406 and multi-flo – personal liquid handling workstations for cell dispensing, media change, and cell fixing and staining
  • Perkin Elmer Janus G3 – mainframe robot for large-scale liquid handling, drug screening, RNAi/CRISPR screening and 3D cell embedding
  • Sciclone ALH3000 Robot – large-scale liquid handling for screening
  • Tecan D300E – fully automated digital drug dispenser, high-throughput qPCR set-up

User information

Researchers Australia-wide can access the VCFG. The centre operates under a ‘researcher driven, staff assisted’ model. Researchers are embedded with the VCFG team and are trained and supported to run their projects. Fee-for-service screening is available, depending on capacity. The VCFG is housed at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

Other platforms

The Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics can be used in conjunction with:

Contact us

Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson
+61 3 8559 7509

Access to iLab booking system

Once you have discussed your project with Kaylene, you will be given access to the centre’s iLab booking system. You can use this system to book instrument time and training, purchase reagents and consumables, and access pricing.

More information on the Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics can be found on the Research Gateway, which is available to all University of Melbourne academic and honorary staff, graduate researchers and professional staff. Please note, to access the Research Gateway, you will need to login with your University of Melbourne username and password.

Banner image: lab equipment and machinery in a lab