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The Lab Man Interviews SLAS2017 Student Poster Competition Winners

Each year at the SLAS International Conference and Exhibition, students, graduate students, post-doctoral associates and junior faculty have the opportunity to share their achievements, gain valuable exposure and win a cash prize in the SLAS Student Poster Competition. The entries are many, the work strong and the job of selecting the top three difficult. Poster judges evaluate a presenter's ability to explain key concepts, respond to questions and demonstrate enthusiasm for their work. The top three student poster authors receive cash awards of $500 each.

By The Lab Man
(AKA SLAS Director of Education Steve Hamilton

At SLAS2017, the SLAS Student Poster Competition winners were Alice Bong from University of Queensland, Sudip Mondal from The University of Texas at Austin and Bilal Zulfiqar from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery at Griffith University. The Lab Man, AKA SLAS Director of Education Steve Hamilton, talks with each about the work behind their winning posters, the challenges they encountered and what’s next in their research and careers.

Alice Bong, University of Queensland

Imaging Intracellular Calcium Dynamics in Breast Cancer using Automated High-Content Fluorescence Imaging

Her doctoral research is based on a strong interest in the adaptive changes occurring in breast cancer cells as a result of chemotherapy. Passionate about research that ultimately improves patient outcomes, Bong hopes to identify new therapeutic opportunities to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancers, a type of cancer linked to poor prognosis.

Listen to podcast.

Sudip Mondal, The University of Texas at Austin

Next Generation Screening Technology for High-Throughput Drug Screening Using C. elegans Disease Models

In his research, Mondal developed an automated microfluidic platform to enable both high-throughput and high-resolution imaging of Caenorhabitis elegans (C. elegans) as a disease model. Small animal models such as C. elegans offer many benefits for next-generation drug screening using in vivo studies. The resulting robust platform can immobilize adult C. elegans in 3,840 traps within five minutes and image the whole population in 16 minutes, the same speed and cost as in vitro cell-based assays. After testing the efficacy of approximately 1,000 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs in improving the aggregation phenotype of the polyglutamine-induced aggregation model, Mondal’s team identified four confirmed hits, one of which had a strong dose-response.

Listen to podcast.

Bilal Zulfiqar, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery at Griffith University

High-Throughput Phenotypic Screening Reveals Novel Pharmacologically Active Compounds for Visceral Leishmaniasis

Current treatment regimens for leishmaniasis often have poor toxicity profiles and resistance has begun to emerge against the standard of care therapies. Finding an urgent necessity for new treatments, Zulfiqar used high-throughput screening (HTS) to identify chemical entities for potential drug development against Leishmania donovani DD8 parasites. Zulfiqar performed a primary screen of 5,560 structurally diverse compounds using the promastigote viability assay (extracellular form) and an intracellular amastigote assay. He confirmed activity with cytotoxicity studies against THP-1 (host cells) and HEK-293 cell lines. The HTS approach used in Zulfiqar's research resulted in the discovery of two compounds that were active against both the old world and new world species causing visceral leishmaniasis. 

Listen to podcast.

About the Author

The Lab Man is SLAS Education Director Steve Hamilton, Ph.D. He is a creative change maker, delivering the fresh thinking and energy that has helped make SLAS the go-to resource for those in life sciences discovery and technology. After years in the drug discovery world, heading many leading-edge automation projects for companies such as Eli Lilly, Scitec and Amgen, Hamilton joined the SLAS professional team in 2010. He received his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Purdue University and a B.S. in chemistry from Southeast Missouri State University.

May 15, 2017