Adam S. Yasgar received a B.Sc. in chemistry at the George Washington University in 2001. As an undergraduate, he discovered his scientific passion for analytical chemistry through his work using high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to separate and identify illegal components in dietary supplements for the Food and Drug Administration. This experience earned him his first position at Pfizer’s Groton, CT research facility, working in the Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics and Metabolism preclinical group as a research associate, where he further developed his bioanalytical techniques. At Pfizer, Mr. Yasgar was part of a team of specialists in the CNS therapeutic area, where he was fortunate enough to support project teams that led to two approved drugs, asenapine (Saphris) and varenicline (Chantix).
In 2005, Mr. Yasgar joined the newly formed NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Initially a small 10 person staff, Mr. Yasgar helped build a multidisciplinary team of automation and compound management experts at NCGC. Later, Mr. Yasgar joined the biology team (led by Dr. Anton Simeonov) as a staff scientist where he primarily focused on the miniaturization of biochemical and cell-based assays for high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns to develop small-molecule probes. In 2011, NIH formed a new institute: the NIH Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), with NCGC forming the core of their research and screening efforts. At NCATS, Mr. Yasgar is currently part of a collaborative team environment where colleagues with diverse specializations in biology, informatics, and medicinal chemistry characterize and optimize probes. He and his colleagues partner extensively with other NIH institutes, academia, small biotechnology companies, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies, and government researchers in an effort to identify probe molecules. These molecules are identified through target- and phenotypic-based HTS assays, representing a diverse target and therapeutic portfolio, using the state-of-the-art labs located in Rockville, MD, currently host to >300 scientists and engineers.
Now entering his 17th year at NIH, Mr. Yasgar has built an impressive portfolio, working on more than 40 HTS campaigns leading to over 50 publications and 15 probe molecules. Mentoring young scientists is also a passion of his, dedicating time to the training of NIH post-baccalaureate, postdoctoral and Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program students in all aspects of early drug discovery methods and probe development. Mr. Yasgar’s other achievements at NCATS include leading the Summer Internship Training Program, playing an integral role on the team that created the NCATS Pharmaceutical Collection, and leading a group of scientists in identifying an inhibitor of the Zika virus during the 2016 public health emergency.