Dr. Noel Southall co-chairs the task force on Data Mining and Repurposing of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC). For many rare diseases, drug repurposing is the only pragmatic strategy for having clinical impact. In his research, he has labored to develop the infrastructure, tools and libraries to facilitate repurposing and has gained experience prosecuting leads, transitioning to clinical proof-of-concept studies, and generating new molecular entities starting from existing drugs.
After earning a PhD in Biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Southall began his career in industry as a computer-aided drug discovery scientist and later joined the National Institutes of Health in 2006. In the Informatics group at NIH/NCATS, he develops software, standards, and provides informatics analysis for therapeutic project teams, from interpreting high-throughput screening data to bioinformatics and structure-based modeling to biomarker discovery and development. These activities help move promising projects from screening toward the clinic. Therapeutic discovery and clinical development project teams are highly interdisciplinary, and informatics is often at the nexus of activity, helping to build software infrastructure to support analysis, modeling, and interpretation – working closely with each of the disciplines to provide support and help communicate those results to the rest of the team.