G. Sitta Sittampalam is a senior advisor to the NCATS Office of the Director. In this position, he works closely with the director and senior administrators on identifying and implementing public-private partnerships with academia, government and industry, both nationally and internationally. Sittampalam joined NCATS in 2011 as a project manager for the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program. Previously, he spent four years as a professor of pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics at the University of Kansas Medical Center, investigating tumor tissue engineering technologies for drug discovery. During this period, Sittampalam also served as the deputy director of the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation, focusing on moving basic biomedical research into therapeutic development for commercialization.
His professional experience includes 23 years in the discovery and development of biotherapeutics and small-molecule drugs at Eli Lilly and Company, where he was active in the development of recombinant human insulin, growth hormones and antibody-drug conjugates, high-throughput screening and lead optimization of small molecule candidates. He was the president of and a director at the Society for Biomolecular Screening (currently the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) from 1997 to 2000. Sittampalam has served on scientific review panels at NIH and for private funding organizations, evaluating grant applications for drug discovery and stem cell research. He is the past editor-in-chief of The Assay Guidance Manual (NLM/NCBI eBook) and has served on the of scientific advisory boards of several biotechnology companies, the Science Translational Medicine (journal) and the Kyushu University Translational Science Department, Fukuoka, Japan.
Sittampalam received his Ph.D. in chemistry and his postdoctoral training in immunoanalytical chemistry at The University of Arizona. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications; conducted more than 300 scientific seminars and short courses in biochemical pharmacology; led assay development for high-throughput screening and lead optimization; and chaired technical sessions for national and international scientific conferences. He also has received several NCATS Director’s Awards for initiating and implementing scientific collaborations.
Having worked in the areas of drug discovery and development for more than 35 years, Sittampalam’s current interests are in teaching and consulting in preclinical pharmacology and in developing state-of-the-art bioanalytical technologies, automated medicinal chemistry, and synthetic biology applications in drug discovery. He also is interested in open-source approaches to drug repurposing and repositioning in rare and neglected diseases through international collaboration.