Contact Information

Primary Contact

Ken Cheng


9800 Medical Center Drive, Bldg B, Rm 373
Rockville, MD 20850


The Functional Genomics Laboratory (formerly, the RNAi Screening Facility) of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) assist investigators with all stages of project planning and execution, beginning with assay development through genome-wide siRNA screens, informatics/pathway analysis and rigorous follow-up. Genome-wide siRNA screens for human and mice are available. Also routinely included in screens are miRNA mimic and inhibitor libraries.


Screening Libraries

  • Ambion Silencer Select Human Genome-Wide siRNA library targeting ~22,000 genes with three individual siRNAs per gene
  • Ambion Silencer Mouse Genome-Wide siRNA library targeting ~17,000 genes with three individual siRNAs per gene
  • Dharmacon siGENOME and Dharmacon ON-TARGETplus Human Genome-Wide siRNA libraries (Thermo Scientific), with pools of four siRNAs targeted against each of ~16,000 genes in the library; “druggable genome” subsets included for focused screening of potentially druggable targets
  • microRNA mimic and inhibitor libraries
  • Ambion Silencer Select Human Druggable Genome siRNA Library V4
  • Dharmacon Human ON-TARGETplus siRNA Transcription Factors Library
  • Dharmacon Human ON-TARGETplus Epigenetics siRNA Library
  • Ambion Silencer Select Human Ubiquitin 96 siRNA Library

Software and Analysis Tools

  • RNAi Data Viewer – This tool allows users to view plates, check stats, screen data and perform a variety of analyses. Access user data (restricted).


  • Simple phenotypes

Robotic Platform

  • Liquid handlers, washers and dispensers
  • EnVision and Pharastar​ Multilabel Reader (PerkinElmer) – Measures luminescence, fluorescence, fluorescence polarization, absorbance and time-resolved fluorescence
  • ImageXpress Micro XL confocal high-content imager (Molecular Devices) – Automated microscope used for the acquisition and analysis of cell-based images in relatively high throughput

User Guidelines

NIH investigators are eligible to collaborate with the Functional Genomics Lab at NCATS and access screening facility resources. Open application cycles occur once each year and last about two months. During these cycles:

1. NIH investigators work with Functional Genomics Lab experts at NCATS to develop an assay. Review the latest version of the Assay Guidance Manual.

2. The NIH investigator submits a letter of intent for review to his or her Institute or Center and a proposal to the Functional Genomics Lab for independent peer review by a proposal selection committee. Rejected proposals can be revised to address key concerns and resubmitted for additional review.

3. Following proposal approval, NCATS staff and the NIH investigator work together to develop and execute a project plan.

NIH investigators interested in collaborating with the Functional Genomics Lab should contact Ken Cheng, Ph.D., to get started. Learn more about how the Functional Genomics Lab works.