Assay Guidance Workshop for High Throughput Screening and Lead Discovery

Saturday, January 23, 2016 — 8:30 am-5:30 pm (local time)


This workshop is available to SLAS2016 registrants only and requires an additional registration fee of $299.00. Click here to register now.


This full-day workshop serves as an introduction to assay development for high throughput screening (HTS) and lead discovery projects. Many of the methodologies successfully implemented in such projects have been "tribal knowledge" within the pharmaceutical industry and not readily found in a classroom or the literature. This "tribal knowledge" has been developed for decades to facilitate identification of the most promising compounds and improve reproducibility in assays for probe development and drug discovery. An increasing number of researchers are actively developing assays for HTS. This workshop is designed to disseminate critical information about the implementation of robust assay methods, which will benefit the entire drug discovery community.

Who Should Attend?

The target audience is individuals with limited to no experience in assay development for high throughput screening and lead optimization. The workshop content was designed to benefit researchers who are planning or beginning to develop assays intended for high throughput screening.


We aim to give the audience a broad, practical perspective on assay development so that they can (1) better understand the process of high throughput screening/lead discovery and know where to find further information (2) identify reagents, methods and instrumentation that are well suited to robust assays (3) be able to develop robust assays and counter assays for new targets. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to seek practical advice about individual research challenges.

Workshop Objectives

  1. Overview of the as an important resource for detailed information about the development of a variety of robust assay methods and best practices in quantitative biology.
  2. Practical approaches for developing robust biochemical and cell-based assays as well as selection and development of optimal assay reagents.
  3. Overview of common sources of assay artifacts and strategies to identify artifacts through the development and implementation of counter assays.
  4. Discussion of important statistical and data analysis concepts with an emphasis on using these concepts to collect the best possible data and make go/no go decisions based on experimental results.
  5. Biophysical approaches for validating hits from a primary screen.
  6. Development and optimization of in vitro assays for testing compound toxicity in a qHTS platform and assessing ADME properties of lead molecules.
  7. Small group discussions to share experiences and seek practical advice about individual research concerns.

Workshop Agenda

8:30-8:40 am: Robust or Go Bust: An Introduction to the Assay Guidance Manual
Nathan P. Coussens, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
8:40-9:20 am: Establishing Robust Biochemical Assays
Lisa Minor, Ph.D., In Vitro Strategies, LLC
9:30-10:10 am: Treating Cells as Reagents to Design Reproducible Screening Assays
Terry Riss, Ph.D., Promega Corporation
10:20-11:00 am: Assay Interpretation: Studies in Mechanisms and Methods in Assay Interferences
Douglas Auld, Ph.D., Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
11:10-11:50 am: Biophysical Approaches to Small Molecule Discovery and Validation
Michelle Arkin, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
12:00-1:00 pm: Lunch
1:00-1:40 pm: Basic Assay Statistics, Data Analysis and Rules of Thumb
Thomas D.Y. Chung, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
1:50-2:30 pm: Reproducibility and Differentiability of Compound Potency Results from Screening Assays in Drug Discovery
V. Devanarayan, Ph.D., AbbVie
2:40-3:20 pm: Application of Quantitative High Throughput Screening in Toxicity Testing
Menghang Xia, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
3:30-4:10 pm: In Vitro Assessment of ADME Properties of Lead Compounds
Xin Xu, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
4:20-5:30 pm: Small Group Breakout Sessions