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Although the use of cell-based assays is well-established in many fields of biological research and drug discovery, it continues to evolve as development of more sophisticated microfabrication, imaging, and analysis techniques occur. Since the early 1970's we have seen a progression from large format single analysis to today's more complex high throughput applications that enable thousands of both imaging and functional assays simultaneously.Applications are numerous and include both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms with preclinical drug screening being a driving force. As modern technology advances into nanofabrication and miniaturized systems, the future of cell based analyses remains strong. This short presentation will review past and future trends in cell-based assays.