Adam S. Yasgar is a staff scientist at NCATS, where he works primarily on the miniaturization of biochemical and cell-based assays for high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns. He also works with colleagues who specialize in informatics and medicinal chemistry to characterize and optimize small molecules, identified through HTS assays, that represent a diverse target and therapeutic portfolio, including the central nervous system (CNS), cancer, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases.
Yasgar received a B.Sc. in chemistry at the George Washington University. As an undergraduate, he used high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to separate and identify dietary supplements for the Food and Drug Administration. He later worked in Pfizer’s Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics and Metabolism pre-clinical group as a research associate, specializing in the CNS therapeutic area, where assisted project teams on two approved drugs, asenapine (Saphris) and varenicline (Chantix). In 2005, Yasgar joined the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he helped build a team of automation and compound management experts before joining the biology team led by Anton Simeonov, Ph.D.
Yasgar has worked on more than 25 HTS campaigns and performed more than 20 screens on NCATS’ robotic screening system. He has also trained NIH post-baccalaureate, postdoctoral and Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program students in all aspects of early drug discovery methods for probe development. Yasgar’s other achievements at NCATS include leading a Summer Internship Training Program and playing an integral role on the team that created the NCATS Pharmaceutical Collection.
Yasgar’s research interests include bioanalytical analysis and HTS assays to support ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion — toxicity). He is particularly interested in HTS campaigns involving the CNS therapeutic area and in the difficulty of finding small molecules that can cross the blood-brain barrier. In addition, Yasgar is interested in helping the public better understand comparative medicine and dietary supplements by using the HTS platform to interrogate the efficacy and value of these unregulated substances. He enjoys working in the collaborative research environment at NCATS and forming productive and long-lasting collaborations with researchers from academia, small biotechnology companies, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies and government.