Join MySLAS Social

SLAS Graduate Education Fellowship Grant: Sizzling in the Crosshairs of the SLAS Mission

As you likely have heard, the SLAS Graduate Education Fellowship Grant program recently became real when Erik M. Werner, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of California, Irvine, was proudly named the recipient of our first $100,000 grant award. This announcement follows years of thoughtful planning and financial stewardship by members of the SLAS Board of Directors, SLAS Americas Council and the SLAS Awards and Grants Committee.

By Richard Eglen, Ph.D.

Ultimately, the decision to present the program’s first grant to Werner was made by an expert panel who were profoundly impressed by all the applicants and excited about how their work will impact the future of life sciences discovery and technology.

This is SLAS at its best! This program sizzles in the crosshairs of the SLAS mission to advance life sciences discovery and technology through education. It energizes ingenuity and accelerates opportunities in the here and now and for years to come. It engages scientific experts at many levels, and it generates a meaningful return on investment – new knowledge to benefit SLAS members everywhere!

We all can look forward to learning from the innovators whose work and careers are being fueled by this program. We’ll hear from them at future SLAS International Conferences and Exhibitions. SLAS also will share the unique accomplishments of SLAS Graduate Education Fellowship Grant recipients by publishing peer-reviewed reports in our SLAS scientific journals, feature stories in our SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood e-zine and recorded conversations in our SLAS Webinars.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit scientific organization, SLAS is committed to carefully and conservatively managing its resources to ensure organizational stability, operational excellence and sound investments to benefit members as well as the organization. The SLAS Graduate Education Fellowship Grant is just one example (albeit an excellent, high profile example) that clearly illustrates how the SLAS cycle of value regenerates for the greater good and long-term gain of all SLAS stakeholders.

Erik Werner was one of 24 outstanding candidates carefully considered for this prestigious award. He collaborated on the grant application with his faculty mentor, Dr. Elliot Hui. Werner has a track record of impressive achievements at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His SLAS-funded project is, according to Werner, “to develop a droplet array containing millions of compartmentalized and indexed droplets with a microscale valve system to enable addressable release of individual droplets on demand. The device will consist of an array of traps connected serially, each with a bypass channel. At the entrance to each trap, an imbalance of hydrodynamic forces will either cause a droplet to enter the trap if it is empty or to bypass the trap and continue downstream if it is full. When the flow is reversed and a valve behind the trap is actuated, droplets can be ejected. This design can be scaled to allow up to millions of droplets to be stored and individually ejected without the need for labeling. Using this device, reaction volumes in a typical screening assay can be shrunk more than 100 fold, greatly decreasing the cost of each library screen. Furthermore, with such high density, entire libraries can be screened on a single chip, greatly increasing throughput by eliminating the need for fluid handling robots to transfer samples. Finally, with addressable control of each reaction chamber, validation screening reactions can be performed rapidly and specifically by cherry-picking potential drug candidates.”

The SLAS Graduate Education Fellowship Grant program will begin accepting its next round of applications in fall and the deadline for application submissions will be in early November. Help us spread the word! Share this link with promising members of the next generation of scientific groundbreakers.


Editor’s Footnote:  Learn more about SLAS President Richard Eglen by visiting the SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood e-zine.


May 23, 2016