About ADST

One of the first steps in the drug development process is creating test systems — called assays — on which researchers assess the effects of chemical compounds on cellular, molecular or biochemical processes of interest.

At NCATS, the experts in the Assay Development and Screening Technology (ADST) program work to optimize assays requested or submitted by the biomedical research community for high-throughput small-molecule screening. Learn more about the scientific capabilities available through the ADST program.

High-throughput screening uses robotics, data processing and control software, liquid-handling devices, and sensitive detectors to enable scientists to quickly conduct millions of chemical, genetic or pharmacological tests. The results of these screens, called probes, can be used to further explore protein and cell functions and biological processes relevant to human health and disease. In addition, these probes can be developed further to become potential therapeutic candidates in the drug development pipeline. Learn more about the goals of the ADST program.

NCATS experts pursue innovations in assay technology to expand understanding of diseases and possible treatment targets. The program’s scientists do much of this work in the context of collaborative relationships with disease foundations. These agreements involve foundation support for postdoctoral researchers to work in the ADST laboratory developing assays and conducting screens. Learn more about ADST projects.