Staff Profile: Elizabeth A. Ottinger

Elizabeth A. Ottinger, Ph.D.
Elizabeth A. Ottinger, Ph.D.

Senior Program Manager

Division of Preclinical Innovation
Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Elizabeth A. Ottinger


Elizabeth Ottinger is a senior program manager and drug development team lead in the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program within NCATS' Division of Preclinical Innovation, where she manages programs with the objective of developing therapies for rare and neglected diseases. She manages project teams, developing and implementing project plans to advance drug candidates through all phases of development, from preclinical to clinical testing. Ottinger proactively builds collaborations, fostering productive team environments in which the many stakeholders — including TRND leadership, technology transfer officers, collaborators and contract research organizations — work closely to drive projects forward to a successful outcome. She has experience across multiple therapeutic modalities, including small molecules, peptides and biologics. She has worked on treatments for neurological and metabolic diseases, cancer, lysosomal storage disorders and infectious diseases.

Ottinger has extensive experience in drug discovery, both in the pharmaceutical industry and in academic research. Prior to joining NCATS in 2010, she was a research fellow in the vaccine department at Merck Research Laboratories, where she worked on developing a broad range of bacterial and anti-viral vaccines. For part of her career, Ottinger was the manager of a high-throughput screening laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, where she developed biochemical and cell-based assays for high-throughput screening of targets for spinal muscular atrophy. She was also an assistant professor of chemistry at Kenyon College and Swarthmore College, where she focused on teaching, research and mentoring undergraduate students.

Ottinger received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College and her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard Medical School.

Research Topics

Ottinger’s research interests are in developing research tools and platforms that support the development of therapies for rare and neglected diseases. These tools include in vitro and in vivo disease models, biomarkers, natural history studies and collaboration models that foster interactions between industry, academia, government and patient advocacy groups. They are designed to advance disease knowledge, help identify new therapeutic targets, bridge gaps in preclinical development and support clinical trials.

Selected Publications

  1. Intrathecal 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin decreases neurological disease progression in Niemann-Pick disease, type C1: a non-randomised, open-label, phase 1-2 trial
  2. Fostering collaborative research for rare genetic disease: the example of niemann-pick type C disease
  3. Disease models for the development of therapies for lysosomal storage diseases
  4. Collaborative development of 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin for the treatment of Niemann-Pick type C1 disease
  5. Neural stem cells for disease modeling and evaluation of therapeutics for infantile (CLN1/PPT1) and late infantile (CLN2/TPP1) neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses