It was my great pleasure to succeed Richard Eglen and begin service as the 2017 SLAS President during SLAS2017 in Washington, DC. Our Society owes great thanks to Richard, Alastair Binnie and Michael Snowden who completed their terms of service as members of the SLAS Board of Directors. Also in DC, we welcomed new Board members Alan Fletcher, Cathy Tralau-Stewart and Steve Young and look forward to their fresh perspectives and leadership contributions.
By The Lab Man
(AKA SLAS Director of Education Steve Hamilton)
Congratulations to Analytik Jena US, Avidien Technologies and infinitesimal for taking home honors in the SLAS2017 New Product Award Competition.
With a tremendous wealth of life sciences experience spanning the globe, three new leaders join the SLAS Board of Directors with dreams for the Society and a willingness to do the hard work to achieve them. Alan Fletcher, Cathy Tralau-Stewart and Steve Young join the 2017 SLAS Board of Directors for three-year terms of service beginning at SLAS2017. They join six current members to guide the strategic direction for the six-year-old Society.
The field of microfluidics has been evolving rapidly in the past few years. From the perspective of someone looking for technologies to improve high-throughput screening and compound profiling, the state of microfluidic applications is more interesting and attractive than ever. So says SLAS2017 Session Chair Daniel Sipes, M.S., director of automation technologies at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), San Diego, CA.
The new year has arrived and so has SLAS CEO Vicki Loise! Loise is an experienced non-profit management veteran who most recently served as vice president at Kellen, a global association management firm headquartered in Illinois. Throughout her career, she’s brought innovative leadership and success to many different membership organizations, including most recently, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM).
In the natural world, in politics, in business, in life sciences discovery and technology – the only thing that stays the same is the fact that nothing stays the same.
“The global flow cytometry market is expected to reach $4.93 billion by 2021 from $3.14 billion in 2016, at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent between 2016 and 2021. In the flow cytometry industry, market growth is majorly driven by the development of novel flow cytometers, increasing use of flow cytometry in clinical trials, launch of new reagents for specific applications like diagnostics and drug discovery, development of user-friendly and intuitive software, growing prevalence of cancer and HIV/AIDS, and growing adoption of flow cytometry techniques in research activities.” – Market Reports Hub, July 2016
Scientists have contemplated the importance of validating research for decades. At each point along the path toward publication of preclinical research, there are both checkpoints for accuracy and challenges to proving what has been discovered. Many things inhibit the task of validation, from funding limitations and the challenging task of recreating experiments that require specialized knowledge of the technology in another environment, to the pressure to move on to new research and publish.
Many people see target-based drug discovery and the phenotypic approach to drug discovery as antagonistic but Fabien Vincent, associate research fellow in the department of Hit Discovery and Lead Profiling at Pfizer, sees them as complementary. This is the message he hopes to convey during the SLAS2017 session “Uniting Phenotypic and Target-based Drug Discovery,” part of the Drug Target Strategies Track.
As my year as SLAS president draws to a close, it is with pride and appreciation that I reflect on the achievements of the past year. SLAS made remarkable progress in 2016 thanks to many energized and forward-thinking members of our life sciences discovery and technology community. From the members of the SLAS Board of Directors, to the many committees and the whole professional team, SLAS is driven by individuals who selflessly invest time and talent to the benefit of our community today and well into tomorrow. This strong level of involvement was evident in the very successful SLAS2016 in San Diego and the many new initiatives that were put in motion throughout the year.
“The dark genome represents the set of genes and their corresponding proteins that remain unstudied or understudied. Given that target validation is a critical bottleneck in the discovery of new therapeutics, illumination of the dark genome could identify druggable targets relevant to diseases,” says Rajarshi Guha, research scientist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and chair of the SLAS2017 Informatics Session on Let There Be Light: Informatics Approaches to Exploring the Dark Genome.
Captivated by informatics and analytics, this biochemist-turned-IT-guy shaped his career around digging information out of the facts and figures generated in the laboratory. He describes his journey as a progression from one interesting problem to the next.
Pursuing your life’s work requires being employed in a position that’s well suited to your knowledge, experience, interests and goals. Many of the people featured in the SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood e-zine (which you’re reading right now) comment that their interests in research were rooted in a loved one’s illness or other personal experience, accompanied by a desire for lifelong learning.
“Could I have found this compound faster, cheaper or easier by an alternative strategy?” This is a question anyone involved in running a screening campaign should ask themselves, says Ed Ainscow, head of discovery at Carrick Therapeutics and chair of the SLAS2017 Rational Screen Design Session in the Assay Development and Screening Track.
This question has been posed since drug discovery began, and the advent of high-throughput screening made it a more pressing question.
The world of drug discovery continues to evolve with changes in the availability of analytical tools and reagents and new strategies leveraged to pursue molecular targets previously considered to be undruggable. This is especially true in oncology where there are large numbers of challenging molecular targets identified but not yet exploited for pharmacological intervention.
Magic. It can happen when people with curious minds gather to digest and dissect a rapidly changing and highly productive field of life sciences discovery and technology. Magic happened in Dresden, Germany, in June of 2016.
She wants it all: a speedy diagnosis and treatment for rare, genetically inherited diseases, connection and collaboration for researchers to make this happen and time to pursue absorbing work in industry and academics. A carefully calculated balancing act throughout her career is making it all possible, at the same time.
The Society recently invited a select group of members from around the world to become the first class of SLAS Fellow Members. This distinguished new membership category is an earned honor that celebrates all those who have made important leadership contributions to our Society since it was founded in 2010. Together, we will celebrate the inaugural class of SLAS Fellow Members when they are introduced at SLAS2017 in Washington, DC, this coming February.
A 300-year history of scientific discovery emerges in SLAS2017 Keynote Presenter Rachel Swaby’s 2015 book, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World. Sharing tenacity, perseverance and creativity, these scientists challenged obstacles and advanced knowledge in the fields of medicine, biology, genetics, physics and more.
As SLAS president, I talk with many people from different backgrounds about our Society and the value of membership. I’m always surprised by the number of people who are unaware of the wealth of knowledge that’s available at their fingertips through SLAS.