January 17, 2012
Christopher Austin is Director of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Senior Advisor to the Director for Translational Research at the National Human Genome Research Institute.
The NCGC is an ultrahigh-throughput screening, informatics, and chemistry center that profiles small molecule libraries for biological activity using its quantitative High Throughput Screening (qHTS) technology, and develops novel compounds as probes of biology and starting points for the development of new drugs for rare and neglected diseases. A founding partner with the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) in the Tox21 Program, the NCGC also develops new paradigms to increase the efficiency and genome-wide reach of assay, screening, chemistry, and informatics technologies.
In his role as Senior Advisor for Translational Research, Dr. Austin was a principal architect of several large initiatives to translate the human genome sequence into biological function and therapeutics, including the NIH Molecular Libraries Initiative, a multifaceted program of small molecule technologies in the public sector, the Knockout Mouse Project, which is producing knockout mice for all mouse genes, and a project to develop an in-depth transcriptome map of the mouse.
Before being recruited to NIH in 2002, Dr. Austin directed research programs genomics-based on target discovery, pharmacogenomics, and DNA microarray technologies at Merck, with a focus on neuropsychiatric diseases. Dr. Austin received his AB in biology summa cum laude from Princeton, and his MD from Harvard. He completed clinical training in internal medicine and neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a fellowship in genetics at Harvard.