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An Exciting Time for the European SLAS Community

By Sabeth Verpoorte, Ph.D.

Less than two months away, the 2018 SLAS Europe Conference and Exhibition promises to deliver! We’ve incorporated all we have learned about quality education and networking from the annual SLAS International Conference and Exhibition and added flavor of the region to offer this inaugural event June 27-29 at the spectacular Square Brussels Meeting Centre in Brussels, Belgium.

Transforming Research. It’s what members of the SLAS community do each and every day, and our events, scientific journals and communications showcase these efforts. The 2018 SLAS Europe Conference is building on the successes of previous SLAS regional and topic-specific meetings such as the March 2018 SLAS Europe Compound Management Conference, September 2017 SLAS High-Content Screening Conference and June 2017 SLAS Nordic Chemical Biology Meeting.
I am so pleased with the efforts of Co-Chairs Emilio Diez-Monedero of Atlas Molecular Pharma, Spain; Annika Jenmalm Jensen of Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; and Ian Shuttler of Tecan, Switzerland. They have assembled a stellar program digging deep into emerging and hot topics in biology, technology and discovery, as well as the latest developments in instrumentation, assays and diagnostics.
“The competition for meetings is huge,” says Jensen. “We are dedicated to developing tracks and securing presenters that provide variety and forward-thinking ideas to engage today’s diverse European life sciences community.” Jensen adds that the event also includes poster presentations focusing on thought-provoking research, a multinational exhibition and sessions that explore career opportunities in business and technology.
Keynote speakers for the event include futurist Peter Hinssen of nexxworks (Ghent, Belgium), Mathias Uhlén of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) and Max Lemke, Components and Systems Unit of the European Commission (Brussels, Belgium). Together they represent the inspired thinking taking place across Europe and the future of the growing life sciences discovery and technology community. A feature article on Uhlén is scheduled to appear shortly in the SLAS e-zine.
A unique adventure is planned for Thursday evening – the Walking Gala Dinner at the BELvue Museum and Coudenberg Palace, which includes an underground tour to discover the remains of the Palace of Charles V. This is a great opportunity to network with your peers in a fun and interesting setting, so be sure to add it when you register.
Personally, I’m especially looking forward to attending the session entitled Organoids and Other Complex Biological Systems in Drug Discovery and Development. Together with colleagues of mine here in the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), I am working in my group on the development of organ-on-a-chip systems as alternatives for animal drug testing. Our work focuses on the use of microfluidics to better emulate in vivo cellular and tissue microenvironments in vitro, in microsystems that also allow real-time monitoring of cell and tissue response to drugs. I am always interested in following the latest developments in the area of the actual biological models we and our collaborators may want to incorporate into our systems in the future. This session looks like it could be very educational for me!
I was also really pleased to see that Mathias Uhlén of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology is one of our invited keynote speakers. I last heard him give a plenary talk at a conference in 2006, where he described the use of antibody-based proteomics to establish expression and localization profiles in 48 normal human tissues and 20 different cancers. It was a memorable presentation, and I look forward to hearing about his work since then!   
Register by May 31 to take advantage of discounted fees. There still is time to submit a poster for consideration – but do so by May 25. Students, graduate students, post-doctoral associates and junior faculty members submitting poster abstracts by May 25 also can be considered for a Tony B. Academic Travel Award.
See you in Brussels!

April 30, 2018