Supercomputers get lots of press. With colorful names like Yellowstone, Stampede and Blue Waters, their high speed, huge storage capacity and ability to produce high-resolution simulations make them ideal tools for scientific problem solving in a wide range of fields, including drug discovery. But all that computing power is useless without software to make sense of all the data that's generated, usually in the form of numbers.
No matter where the borders lie, the scientific method remains the same. When SLAS members discuss working and living in foreign countries, they talk about similarities before differences – the universal language of science – as they share their unique perspectives on working abroad.
"I will prepare and some day my chance will come."
– Storyteller Abraham Lincoln
In his SLAS2014 keynote address, Eric Topol, M.D., will provide a compelling perspective on the implications of "homo digitus" — a reference to the role of wireless physiological monitoring, genomics, imaging and health information technology to create "digitized" humans — for laboratory science and technology professionals working in life science R&D. "The whole way that we go about discovering and developing new drugs is going to be completely revamped," he asserts.
A college internship introduced Xavier Perrodon to robotics. A spirit of adventure moved him across two continents. Discover how a busy laboratory automation specialist keeps one foot in the lab and the other traveling on international turf.
When challenges are big, people look to each other for support. To tackle one of the biggest challenges facing mankind today – developing effective new medicines – large pan-European pharmaceutical companies have joined forces with small and medium-sized enterprises and academia in a wide-ranging drug discovery platform, the European Lead Factory.
Among the topics that generated significant buzz at SLAS2013 was Foldit, a videogame that is being used to crowdsource potential solutions to complex biochemical problems. Foldit co-developer Seth Cooper, Ph.D., creative director at the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, Seattle, gave a presentation on the game, which has garnered a number of awards, including an honorable mention for technical excellence at the Independent Games Festival 2013; a Katerva award 2012 behavioral change category winner, first place in the interactive games category at the NSF International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2011 and Innovation of the Year, TechFlash Newsmaker Awards 2011.
Read a book, run a marathon. Raise a family, do research. It's impossible to do all these things at the same time. Or is it? Ioana Popa-Burke, Ph.D., manages the load and makes it look easy. She bolsters her resolve to do it all with the support of her spouse, family-friendly hours at work, a keen eye for opportunity and an outgoing personality.
The latest North American Survey of Laboratory Purchasing Trends reveals a “steady as you go” position for personnel and purchasing in 2013. This annual report allows laboratory science and technology professionals to make and adjust plans based on sound information and historical data. The study is available for free to SLAS members.
In June, Chad Mirkin, Ph.D., Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (USA), will present the keynote address at the 2013 SLAS Asia Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai, China. Titled Nano-flares for the Analysis of Circulating Cancer Cells, Mirkin's presentation will include details about a unique spherical nucleic acid (SNA)-based technology that recently became available to researchers, enabling them to take measurements within live cells that cannot be accomplished with conventional techniques.
Collaborative science may involve working across groups or companies on the other side of town or across the ocean. They may be branches of your own company, contract research organizations or even competitors! In the race to improve patient care, however, the current thought is to involve those best positioned to make great progress and work together toward improved patient care.
The ability to tell stories is essential to creating solid connections, finding common ground and establishing trust with others – whether networking at a conference, interviewing for a new position or presenting scientific results. Harness the power of "once upon a time" and build effective communications skills.
When he stands on an historic battlefield, this ex-Marine contemplates what the troops endured. As he tours an 800-year-old university, the scientist in him marvels at the discoveries of the past. These examples represent the worst and best in mankind's achievements; both changed the course of history and taught Al Kolb, Ph.D., that progress in any effort requires teamwork, perseverance and leaders who grasp a broad perspective.
"While great visuals may be more ‘style than substance,' an eye toward elegance can make a difference in how results are interpreted and accepted by the larger community." – Mark Bray, The Broad Institute, 2013 JALA & JBS Art of Science Honorable Mention winner
Researchers around the world are spearheading an ambitious initiative aimed at understanding and predicting physiological function in health and disease. What's unusual about this initiative is that the team—a network of investigators from the United States, Europe and New Zealand—isn't simply running thousands of in vitro and in vivo experiments as they try to unearth the mechanisms underlying disease and dysfunction. Instead, they are working with computational tools and computer simulations based on the physiology of a rat.
What does a German-language undergrad with an M.B.A. have in common with a drug discovery scientist? Venturing into the unknown, says Ying Yang. She is building her career by exploring new frontiers with talented scientists and turning their discoveries into practical, profitable applications.
Obstacle or opportunity – Krishna Vattipalli approaches both with the optimism gained from his life's early lessons in perseverance. He is ready to pay forward the support he has received to students in need of guidance, physicians and patients in want of answers and colleagues in search of collaboration.
Joshua Bittker, Ph.D.; Richard Ellson, M.S.; and Dean Ho, Ph.D., were elected by SLAS members to serve three-year terms on the SLAS Board of Directors beginning January 2013. Each brings unique talents and a similar commitment to serve the Society. They join six other members of the 2013 Board of Directors. SLAS invites you to learn a bit more as you read the new directors' answers to the questions below.
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."