James Inglese directs the Assay Development and Screening Technology laboratory within the Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation at NCATS. His postdoctoral training program has been recognized by disease foundations as an effective collaborative bridge to NCATS’ expertise and resources, enabling a champion-driven effort in early-stage translation. Prior to the formation of NCATS, in 2004 Inglese co-founded the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (now at NCATS), later acting as its deputy director.
Inglese received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Pennsylvania State University, under the guidance of chemist and enzymologist Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D., where Inglese studied tetrahydrofolate-dependent purine biosynthetic enzymes as new anticancer targets. He then acquired expertise in cellular and molecular biology through postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., at Duke University Medical Center, investigating regulatory kinases of G protein–coupled receptor signaling. Before coming to NIH, Inglese led research teams at the Princeton-based combinatorial chemistry biotechnology company Pharmacopeia, Inc., and at Merck Research Laboratories.
Inglese has contributed to more than 180 publications and patents and is the founding editor of the journal ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies, serving as editor-in-chief from 2002 to 2014. He co-chaired the 2015 conference of the Society of Laboratory Automation and Screening. Inglese also serves as a scientific advisor to NIH-funded chemistry and screening centers, disease foundations, and international chemical biology consortia.
Inglese’s laboratory investigates strategies to identify chemical modulators targeting the molecular underpinnings of disease pathophysiology. His laboratory specializes in the design and reduction to practice of biochemical and cell-based assays for quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS). Biological processes, including gene expression, posttranslational regulation, signaling and metabolism, that are involved in disorders ranging from infections to neuropathies have formed the basis of assays developed in his laboratory. The assays have been used to interrogate collections of clinically approved drugs to those composed of diverse novel substances, such as those found in microbial natural product extracts.
To advance a more efficient drug discovery model, Inglese’s laboratory conducts research in high-throughput techniques, assay technologies and analysis methods for large-scale qHTS data. For example, by integrating a reporter gene system created in his laboratory to reduce the incidence of false-positives with advances made in the genome editing field, he and his colleagues engineered novel cell line models of specific disease phenotypes, enabling high-fidelity testing of very large chemical libraries.