Bobbie Ann Austin is a program officer for the Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules program, which has two funding initiatives:
- NCATS' NIH-Industry Partnerships: This initiative fosters collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and the biomedical research community to advance therapeutics development. The focus is on matching researchers with a selection of pharmaceutical assets to help scientists test ideas for new therapeutic uses.
- Bench-to-Clinic Repurposing: Through this initiative, NCATS supports pre-clinical (bench) studies to test the utility of an independent crowdsourcing effort, computational algorithm or big dataset from patient records to predict new uses of a drug or biologic. NCATS plans to issue a complementary funding opportunity in 2018 to support clinical studies for projects that are further along in the development pipeline.
Austin obtained her Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2002. She worked as an assistant professor of biology for two years before pursuing two separate fellowships: first, at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in a virology lab, and second, in a clinical immunology lab at the National Eye Institute (NEI), where she received an NEI Director’s Award.
Austin has authored 11 peer-reviewed manuscripts, one book chapter and one book review. She has prepared more than 60 science policy, program, legislative and regulatory statements as well as preparing and editing five biomedical research toolkits. Austin has secured competitive funding for seven research projects; motivated more than 400 volunteers to participate in preparing a document that was used as a benchmark for research program strategic planning; and served as a science liaison and organizational representative in decision making meetings with more than 30 organizations, including government agencies, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, think tanks, legislative bodies, academic institutions and drug/device developers.