Paul Shinn is the compound management (CoMa) group leader in the NCATS Division of Preclinical Innovation. His group maintains compound libraries that support high-throughput screening campaigns performed on various automation platforms. Shinn’s group also provides compound samples to researchers at NCATS and other NIH Institutes and Centers, as well as to more than 300 collaborators on six continents. Each year, the CoMa team prepares nearly 2 million samples in 1,536-well format. Shinn’s primary focus is to use best scientific practices to create new methods or technologies that will enable researchers to advance their experiments. To that end, Shinn has introduced new automation equipment, improved processes and implemented new workflows that have reduced manual operations while increasing productivity. He has also initiated database and software development projects that have led to the creation of a web-based sample management system, and he has created a workflow to automatically create assay-ready plates for drug-combination screening using noncontact, liquid-dispensing technology.
Prior to joining NCATS, Shinn worked in the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) at the National Human Genome Research Institute. The NCGC currently operates as the NCATS Chemical Genomics Center. Shinn’s undergraduate and postgraduate research in the University of Pennsylvania laboratory of Dr. Joseph Ecker involved gene sequencing of the model plant organism Arabidopsis thaliana. In 2000, Shinn moved with Ecker’s lab to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, where he continued in his role as the lab’s sequencing coordinator, contributing samples and data to GenBank, NIH’s genetic sequence database. He also assisted another Salk lab in identifying human genome “hotspots” where retroviruses such as HIV, ASVL and MLV preferentially insert into the host’s genome.
Shinn received his B.A.S. in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.
Shinn’s research interests encompass the use of laboratory automation and software tools that will ensure the reliable delivery of samples to end users. His interests include automated sample management, liquid handling automation, and software and database development.