NCATS Science Featured at 28th NIH Research Festival

Researchers from NCATS and other NIH Institutes and Centers recently gathered at the 28th NIH Research Festival to share insights on important scientific advances made by intramural investigators. The annual event took place Sept. 22 – 24, 2014, at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

NIH Research FestivalNCATS research scientist Marc Ferrer, Ph.D., and National Cancer Institute staff scientist Matthew Hall, Ph.D., co-chaired a concurrent symposium at the festival called "Assays to lead the way: High-throughput screening and probe discovery at the NIH." Attendees included Michael Gottesman, M.D., NIH deputy director for intramural research, and many others interested in ways to collaborate with NCATS scientists and access the Center’s high-throughput robotic screening capabilities. The robots can help investigators translate their work into potential therapeutics to treat disease or to generate molecular "probes" to better understand disease biology.

As part of the symposium, Anton Simeonov, Ph.D., acting deputy director of the NCATS Division of Preclinical Innovation, discussed collaborative opportunities for intramural researchers in early drug discovery, and NCATS scientist Craig Thomas, Ph.D., presented innovative approaches Center researchers have developed to identify small molecule therapeutics and optimal drug combinations to treat diseases such as cancer and malaria.

In addition, investigators from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) discussed the progress of existing research projects with NCATS. Ellen Sidransky, M.D., senior investigator in the Medical Genetics Branch at NHGRI, talked about her work with Center researchers to identify lead compounds and develop robust models for Gaucher disease. Sidransky also discussed the project’s relevance to neurological disorders that may share underlying molecular defects with Gaucher, such as Parkinson’s disease. Jake Liang, M.D., chief of the Liver Disease Branch at NIDDK, described a collaborative effort with NCATS researchers around potential therapeutics for the hepatitis C virus.

"The talks complemented one another more than we could possibly have anticipated and conveyed to a new audience the possibilities for assay development and high-throughput screening for the intramural community," Hall said.

More than 20 NCATS scientists co-authored posters about recent research at sessions throughout the festival. Posters focused on rare diseases, infectious diseases, cancer, chemical toxicology and multidrug-resistant bacteria. Click on each title below for details:

Drug repurposing screen to identify new therapeutics for the Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumonia
Authors: S. Dai, W. Sun, R.A. Weingarten, P. Shinn, J.C. McKew, K.M. Frank, W. Zheng

HTS of IDH1 R132H leads to identification of a potent inhibitor of IDH1 R132H capable of reducing 2-hydroxyglutarate production in U87-MG glioblastoma cells
Authors: M.I. Davis, R. Pragani, S. Gross, J. Popovici-Muller, K. Straley, W. Lea, Z. Li, L. Dang, M. Shen, M.B. Boxer, A. Simeonov

Quantitative profiling of environmental chemicals and drugs for farnesoid X receptor activity
Authors: C.W. Hsu, J. Zhao, R. Huang, J.H. Hsieh, J.T. Hamm, X. Chang, K.A. Houck, M. Xia

Evaluation of drug efficacy in a cell based Niemann Pick type C disease model using cells derived from patient iPS cells
Authors: Y. Long, R. Li, M. Wang, S. Dai, M. Swaroop, J.C. McKew, W. Zheng

New antimalarial agents and drug targets identified from a screen against plasmodium falciparum gametocytes
Authors: W. Sun, T.Q. Tanaka, C.T Magle, W. Huang, N. Southall, R. Huang, S.J. Dehdashti, J.C. McKew, K.C. Williamson, W. Zheng


Posted September 2014