Short Courses

Assay Guidance Workshop for High Throughput Screening and Lead Discovery

Saturday, February 3
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Location: 1A

This full-day workshop will cover a broad range of critical concepts underlying assay development for high throughput screening (HTS) and lead discovery projects. Many of the methodologies successfully implemented in such projects have been "tribal knowledge" within the pharmaceutical industry and not readily found in a classroom or the literature. This "tribal knowledge" has been developed for decades into detailed chapters within the AGM to facilitate reproducible assays that can identify the most promising compounds for development of molecular probes or clinical candidates for drug discovery and development. An increasing number of researchers are actively developing well validated assays for drug discovery that include phenotypic and biochemical assays for lead optimization. This workshop is designed to disseminate critical information about the implementation of robust assay methods and intended to benefit the entire drug discovery community. Many of the workshop instructors have 20-30 years of experience in the field of drug discovery.

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Nathan P. Coussens

Staff Scientist
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Nathan P. Coussens, Ph.D., is a scientist in the Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He maintains a diverse target portfolio and is part of a collaborative interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers focused on identifying and optimizing small molecule probes using high-throughput screening. Dr. Coussens holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and carried out his postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Coussens currently serves as the Associate Scientific Editor of the Assay Guidance Manual, an eBook hosted by the National Library of Medicine.


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G. Sitta Sittampalam

Senior Advisor to the Director

Dr. Sittampalam is a Senior Advisor and Project Manager at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS/NIH). He has graduate training in bioanalytical chemistry and has ~ 40 peer-reviewed publications and presented over 250 invited seminars short courses and lectures pharmacology, drug discovery Assay Development and HTS. He spent ~23 years in discovery and development of biologicals and small molecule drugs at Eli Lilly & Co, Indianapolis, IN., followed by 4 years as the Deputy Director of the Institute of Advancing Medical Innovations (IAMI) focused on advancing basic research to therapies for commercialization. During the same period, as a professor of Pharmacology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, he investigated cancer stem cells, circulating tumor cells and 3-dimensional cell models for drug discovery. He has served in NIH and multiple scientific grant review panels, currently Editor-in-Chief of the Assay Guidance Manual (NCBI eBook), in the editorial board of the Journal of Biomolecular Sciences, President and Board member of Society for Biomolecular Sciences (SBS) and the scientific advisory boards of Science Translational Medicine and Science Exchange Inc., Organovo Holdings LLC, and Stemina Biomarker Inc.


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Terry Riss

Global Strategic Manager, Cell Health
Promega Corporation

Dr. Riss received a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Illinois in 1978 in the field of mammary gland biology. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston purifying growth factors involved with breast cancer and developing serum-free media formulations to implement bioassays. Dr. Riss moved to the Biotechnology division of Schering Plough in 1988 to develop interleukin/cytokine bioassays to support investigational new drug filings. Dr. Terry Riss started the Cell Biology program at Promega Corporation in 1990 and has held several R&D and Project Management positions. Dr. Riss managed development of cell viability, cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and protease assay systems and also lead efforts to identify and promote multiplexing of cell-based assays to determine the mechanism of cell death. Dr. Riss now serves as Global Strategic Marketing Manager, Cell Health involved in outreach educational training activities. Dr. Riss has participated in several NIH study sections reviewing HTS grants and is co-editor of the cell culture assays section of the Assay Guidance Manual hosted by NIH.


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Douglas Auld

Sr. Research Investigator I

Douglas Auld, Ph.D. is a Sr. Investigator working at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, Mass. His post-doctoral training was at M.I.T. with Prof. Paul Schimmel. Following his post-doc., Dr. Auld worked at Pharmacopeia in Princeton NJ where he led drug discovery efforts using encoded combinatorial libraries. In 2004 Dr. Auld was hired to help start the NIH Chemical Genomics Center as part of the NIH Roadmap Initiative. At NIH his group was involved with profiling the PubChem library against a wide range of biochemical and cell-based assays related to both rare and common diseases and applied expertise in both biology and chemistry to develop high quality chemical probes. Dr. Auld joined NIBR in 2010. Current efforts aim to enable lead discovery by integrating innovative screening approaches including the use of primary cell types, exploring new reporter systems, and high content cellular analysis. Dr. Auld has over one hundred publications in the areas of drug discovery, assay development, and chemical biology.


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Michelle Arkin

Associate Professor, Pharm Chem; co-Director, Small Molecule Discovery Center
University of California - San Francisco

The Small Molecule Discovery Center is a research ‘colaboratory’ that works with academic and biotech investigators to develop small-molecule probes and drug leads. Dr. Arkin’s lab is particularly focused on chemical biology of allosterically regulated enzymes and protein-protein interactions to address mechanisms of neurodegeneration, and cancer. Michelle is as an investigator in the NCI’s Chemical Biology Consortium and the Tau Consortium, an editor of the NIH’s Assay Guidance Manual, and board president of the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium. Prior to UCSF, Michelle was one of the first employees at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, where she served as project leader for new drug targets in cancer and immunology and associate director of cell biology. She was closely involved in two drug programs currently in humans (vosaroxin, an experimental anticancer agent, and lifitegrast, approved by the FDA in 2016).


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Thomas D.Y Chung

Director, Translational Programs Outreach
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Dr. Thomas "T.C." Chung is the Director of Outreach and Project Manager MLPCN for the Prebys Center, where he is responsible for reaching out to potential organizations and their principal investigators and decision makers to seed collaborations and strategic alliances, catalyze responses to Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA), then to operationally manage these collaborations and alliances. He manages the Prebys Centers early drug discovery alliance with the Mayo and other clinical translational centers.


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Viswanath Devanarayan

Executive Director
Charles River Laboratories

Dr. Devanarayan is the Global Head of Exploratory Statistics and a Senior Research Fellow at AbbVie, and an elected Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). He has 20 years of combined pharmaceutical research experience from Eli Lilly, Merck, and AbbVie. His statistical & data-analytic contributions across drug discovery and development include applications such as target identification, high-throughput-screening, genomics, proteomics, bioanalytical methods, biomarker discovery, and precision medicine. He has filed 10 patent applications, given over 100 invited talks at scientific meetings, and co-authored over 50 publications. He has published several white-papers with regulatory, academic and industry scientists on immunogenicity, bioanalytical methods, genomics, and biomarker qualification. He is currently also an Adjunct Professor at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois in Chicago.


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Menghang Xia

Group leader
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences/NIH


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Xin Xu

Director of Pharmacokinetics


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Assay Guidance Workshop for High Throughput Screening and Lead Discovery

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