Collaboration. Overused buzzword or key to the universe? Knowing its true impact likely lies somewhere in between, panelists in the SLAS2013 special session – "HTS and Early Drug Discovery in Industry and Academia. Collaboration: Is the Sum Greater Than the Two Parts?" – intend to ignite free-flowing debate about this important topic.
December 2012 marks SLAS's thirtieth month as a scientific community. As we reflect on the success of our progress, we do so in terms of our mission, which is "to serve as a global organization that exists to provide forums for education and information exchange to encourage the study of, and improve the science and practice of, laboratory automation and screening."
Among the most compelling presentations at SLAS2013 will be those that represent the "best in breed of new technologies and science—particularly those that are making a difference at a practical level," says Paul Taylor, M.S., chair of the SLAS2013 High-Throughput Technologies track. The following examples offer a glimpse of what's in store for conference participants in this evolving arena.
In politics, "special interest groups" carries a negative connotation as candidates accuse their opponents of being in the back pocket of this or that special interest group. But for a professional society, special interest groups, or SIGs, garner quite the opposite reaction.
Like a page out of a MacGyver script, one could imagine Daniel Sipes, M.S., lashing a life raft together from duct tape, tubing and some electrical wire. What is more remarkable about this solo-sailing aficionado, former volunteer and forest firefighter and make-it-like-new handyman is the career he has crafted by developing relationships that have formed at the intersections of his hobbies and his work.
Discovering your strengths and what you most like to do – and then finding a professional position that fits both – can be a lifelong journey. SLAS member Giancarlo Basile has enjoyed the ride so far and shares some of the lessons he learned en route.
In 2007, a Harvard-based research team changed the face both of microfluidics and cancer detection forever when they described in Nature their novel CTC (circulating tumor cell) chip.
The tools are there and the data is flowing. But, how do today's laboratory scientists maximize the technology available to them to obtain the correct data and then extract the appropriate meaning? SLAS members do what great scientists have always done – ask the right questions, design the experiments carefully and take advantage of the latest tools and technology.
An SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood September 2011 feature on next-generation sequencing (NGS) focused on the promise and challenges of using the technology to hasten the pace of drug discovery. NGS also has moved forward on the clinical front to aid in diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic decision making.
When the Eastern block countries fell, he was there. When Middle East problems erupted, he was there. When a positive result to a genetic test for Huntington's Disease (HD) placed him on the frontline, former Emmy-Award winning broadcast journalist and SLAS2013 keynote Speaker Charles Sabine took up the cause to promote scientific research. Advocacy gives a new context for his past experiences as he helps connect the chief protagonists involved in finding a treatment.
As of August 2, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world's largest professional network on the Internet with more than 175 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Jobvite's Social Recruiting Survey 2012 reveals that 92% of employers use social networks to find talent, (up from 78% five years ago) and LinkedIn continues to be the most popular option. Seventy three percent of employers surveyed report that they successfully hired candidates through social media, and of those hires, 89% said they hired from LinkedIn.
Copernicus, Galileo and Giordano Bruno fought for us to have the freedom to doubt and question those who claim authority on dogma unsubstantiated by evidence. This is the fundamental basis for the ideas expressed by Sir Harold Kroto, as he speaks to international groups ranging from Nobel Laureates to the up-and-coming scientists and other young decision-makers of the future. It will be a major theme of his SLAS2013 keynote presentation "Science and Society in the 21st Century," Tuesday, January 15 in Orlando, FL.
For the first time, SLAS is collaborating with the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), whose clinical focus is on molecular diagnostic and prognostic medicine, to bring two speakers from the organization to SLAS2013.
From his lab at the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry, Professor Dean Ho, Ph.D., talks about his promising nanodiamonds research and reveals how it embraces the collaborative, multidisciplinary spirit of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.
Physician Joseph P. Vacanti and engineer Robert Langer first introduced the concept of tissue engineering in the early 1980s. Today, they are among a Boston/Cambridge stronghold of scientific researchers making advances in that seminal work. Also propelling progress is biomedical researcher and SLAS member Ali Khademhosseini, associate professor at Harvard-MIT's Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School as well as an associate faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
A fascination for all aspects of science and a life-long practice of surveying the work landscape for new opportunities have served David Pechter well throughout his 30-plus-year-career. He quickly adapts his skills set to suit the prospect.
In May, SLAS Education Director Steve Hamilton, Ph.D. (aka The Lab Man), described in his blog a smartphone application that allows users to monitor their labs remotely and make system adjustments if needed. This advance, which is beginning to transform the way companies manage their compound screening and profiling systems, is but one way that mobile technology is changing the entire healthcare landscape, from drug discovery to patient care. Other advances promise to improve disease detection and diagnosis, as well as healthcare delivery, by turning familiar devices such as cell phones and video game consoles into platforms for data collection and point-of-care analysis. A number of challenges must be met before many of these mobile devices are ready for prime time, according to experts interviewed for this article. But they also agree that—especially for laboratory science and technology professionals—the trend offers many opportunities for innovation.
Dan Huh recognizes great engineering when he sees it. The precision workings of everything from engines to insects to the tiniest portion of an organ in the body, give him inspiration for solving bioengineering conundrums.
"In many ways, the SLAS community is like an extended family. You care about one another and wish each other well. While passionate about some similar interests, there are others meaningful only to portions of the family. You stay in touch throughout the year and get together in person once in awhile to catch up. And, all members of the family have a vested interest in helping the next generation succeed." – Jeff Paslay, Ph.D., SLAS Vice President, Kirkland, WA
Whether ascending slopes in a pair of hiking boots or descending them on skis, Mahendra Rao is creating a path and renewing his perspective. His approach to stem cell research has taken a similar course. From stints in academia, industry, regulatory affairs and government, he has gathered more than 20 years' experience for his next endeavor with the National Institutes of Health.