The ability of organisms, or individual cells, to react to external chemical signals, which are detected and transduced by cell-surface receptors, is crucial for their survival. These receptors are the targets of the majority of clinically used medicines. Combinatorial genetics can provide almost unlimited numbers of mutant receptor proteins and combinatorial chemistry can produce large libraries of potential therapeutic compounds that act on these membrane receptors. What is missing for the fundamental understanding of receptor function and for the discovery of new medicines are efficient procedures to screen both ligand-receptor interactions and the subsequent functional consequences. Ultrasensitive fluorescence spectroscopic approaches, in combination with efficient labelling protocols, offer enormous possibilities for highly parallel functional bioanalytics at the micro- and nanometer level.