Sara McKellip, M.S.F.S., obtained a comprehensive foundation in the biological and chemical sciences as an undergraduate, as well as during her studies in forensic science, in which she completed a specialized graduate degree. She received research experience in the field of forensic entomology specifically regarding cryopreservation procedures through her graduate work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham prior to joining the High-Throughput Screening Center (HTS) at Southern Research (SR) in November of 2003.
McKellip plays an integral part in the HTS Center’s success as compound manager of the HTS Compound Repository comprised of SR’s Internal Compound Repository (~15,000 compounds) and proprietary sets (~50,000 compounds), several government-owned libraries (~1,200,000 compounds) as well as SR-owned commercially available libraries (~460,000 compounds). With 12 years of experience in the compound management role for the group, she oversees all compound handling, preparation, and assay drugging; compound ordering, shipping, and receiving; compound tracking and plate store replenishment; short-term and long-term compound storage for the HTS Compound Repository; and the daily scheduling and work assignment of the other compound management employees. Additionally, she assists others on the research staff with the logistics of compound preparation for assay development and troubleshooting, novel screening projects, and special follow-up studies. At SR, McKellip has been acknowledged for her work ethic and accomplishments by being awarded the SR’s Excellence Award for Process Excellence in 2009 and again in 2013 as part of the HTS team.
While working in SR’s Drug Discovery division, McKellip has been involved in a wide range of (anti)-infectious agent projects, including screening efforts with SARS CoV, H3N2 flu virus, H1N1 flu virus, H5N1 flu virus, West Nile virus, Respiratory syncytial virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Arbovirus, Herpes simplex virus, Dengue virus, Chikungunya Virus, Vaccinia virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Vibrio cholerae, Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus. She has also been involved with large drug discovery campaigns that focused on screening for lead compounds to treat human immunodeficiency virus, cystic fibrosis, as well as numerous neurological disorders and cancer-causing targets. In addition to her role in the HTS Center, McKellip works closely with SR’s Chemistry Department to make the hit-to-lead process run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.