Austrian Drug Screening Institute

Innsbruck, Austria

The Austrian Drug Screening Institute (ADSI) was founded in 2012 as a research enterprise of the University of Innsbruck (LFU) and offers research services for companies as well as academic research institutes in the fields of drug development, phytopharma, dietary supplements, phytocosmetics, nutrition and related industries.
The ADSI was initiated by the analytical chemist Prof. Dr. Günther K. Bonn, Head of the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Radiochemistry, University of Innsbruck, and by the cell biologist and physician Prof. Dr. Lukas A. Huber, Head of the Cell Biology Division at the Medical University of Innsbruck. Both Prof. Bonn and Prof. Huber are the scientific directors of the ADSI.
In ADSI, analytical chemistry and cell biology are combined in a unique way. The biological division designs cell-based assays that mimics human tissues in the lab and thus are particularly relevant. On the other hand, the analytical section is able to analyse and read different parameters, no matter if the basic material derives from plants to extract potential active substances or from cell supernatants to detect changes in the regulation of cytokines. Furthermore, a bioinformatics division was developed to integrate the complex readouts and evaluate the resulting data sets. Research services developed at ADSI are the basis of three pillars strategy:

1) screening and product development,

2) mode of action studies and confirmation of cosmetic claims, and

3) quality control analyses for nutrition and dietary supplements industries.

The ADSI employs about 25 persons, mainly highly qualified scientists. The institute is equipped with a state-of-the-art infrastructure. It became an integral part of the Austrian research landscape and works closely with numerous universities and research institutions, as well as with industrial partners in Austria and abroad.
Although the Institute is mainly financed by the state of Austria and the state of Tyrol, revenues from research contracts contribute significantly to the financing of ADSI.

Group leader

Ronald Gstir

Ronald Gstir is head of the laboratory of cell biology at the Austrian Drug Screening Institute, ADSI, in Innsbruck, since January 2016. He started his work history as research technician in the lab of Professor Lukas Huber, went on to study molecular biology and did his PhD in the field of RNA biology. He obtained his research training at the European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL) in Heidelberg (Germany) and at the Medical University of Innsbruck in the laboratories of Professor Lukas A. Huber and Professor Alexander Hüttenhofer. His interest in translational research motivated him to leave academia and join ADSI in 2015, to develop a screening platform for cell-based 3D assays.

The research interest of Ronald Gstir is the development of cellular test systems to mimic the in vivo conditions of diseased and healthy tissues and organs (skin, lung, intestine, liver, tumor, and others) in the human body. Many cell types are kept in aggregates like 3D cultures to promote the formation of natural tissue structures similar to those found in the human body. The test systems are designed to screen libraries of natural products like plant extracts, cosmetic formulations or drug candidates for their effectiveness and toxicity.

During his career, Gstir studied the non-coding function of oskar mRNA and mapped the functional site in the 3’-UTR of oskar mRNA (Kanke et al. RNA 2015). In the field of RNA Biology he developed a neuro-specific microarray to identify noncoding RNAs involved in neurodegenerative diseases (Gstir et al. RNA 2014). This technology led in succession to the discovery of ncRNAs involved in Fear Extinction Memory and Multiple System Atrophy (Murphy et al. Biol Psychiatry 2017; Schafferer et al. PLoS One 2016). Gstir made also significant contributions in establishing a screening platform for cell-based 3D assays at the ADSI in Innsbruck and developed novel state of the art assays for dermatology and cosmetics.

To date he has authored 7 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

team member

Iris Krainer

Iris Krainer is PhD Student at the division of cell biology at the Austrian Drug Screening Institute, in  Innsbruck, since February 2017. She started her PhD in May, 2015 at the Medical University of Innsbruck in Molecular Cell Biology. In 2016 Iris Krainer did an internship at the Hubrecht Institute (Nederland) from which she transferred the knowledge of organoid technology to the Medical University of Innsbruck, and subsequently (2017) to the Austrian Drug Screening Institute.

Iris Krainer`s research interests are in the field of organoid technology for precision medicine, which she is establishing at the ADSI and MUI for intestine, liver and colorectal tumors.