Cristian Soitu, University of Oxford, Recognized with Innovation Award at SLAS2019

For Immediate Release


Washington, DC (USA) (Feb. 6, 2019) — SLAS recognized Cristian Soitu, M.Eng. and Ph.D. Candidate at University of Oxford, with the SLAS Innovation Award at SLAS2019 International Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC. Soitu received the award as recognition of his exceptional podium presentation on Microfluidic Chambers Using Fluid Walls for Cell Biology. Soitu accepted a $10,000 cash prize as part of one of the highest honors given at the conference.

In his SLAS2019 presentation, Soitu discussed how his team at Oxford is developing a novel fluid-shaping technology that enables biologists to benefit from microfluidics using the materials that they have used for decades, e.g. petri dish and cell media. The method exploits the dominance of interfacial forces at the microscale and, by doing so, reshapes fluids to create structures with fluid walls. Fluidic chambers are pliant, contain self-healing walls, fully accessible to the user, and eliminate the optical edge effects found in well-plates to provide excellent optical clarity, critically important in applications such as single-cell cloning. The versatility of the technology is demonstrated by accommodating a wide variety of workflows in cell biology (e.g. cloning, cryopreservation, immunolabeling, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing). This transformative approach to manipulating small volumes eliminates the need for expensive equipment and expertise, and arrays of hundreds to thousands of fluidic chambers can be created and accessed in minutes on a single 6-cm cell culture dish.

“I am thrilled to be receiving the innovation award, which further demonstrates that the technology we are developing has widespread applications and appeal to the biological community,” Soitu said. “The translation of this technology to biomedical labs will provide biologists with instant access to microscale investigations, enabling both the acceleration of existing assays and the development of new ones.”

Each year, SLAS Innovation Award finalists are identified based on their submitted abstracts which demonstrate exceedingly innovative research and discovery in life sciences and contribute to the exploration of technologies in the laboratory, surpass a benchmark or milestone in screening or the lead discovery process, or demonstrate an advanced and integrated use of mature technologies. The award finalist is then selected by a panel of judges who attend and score each podium presentation on the impact the work has on life sciences and technology, originality and creativity, quality of the science and the oral presentation.

Ten 2019 SLAS Innovation Award finalists were selected to compete for this year’s cash prize, and Soitu was announced as the winner at the closing ceremony and keynote presentation at SLAS2019 on Wednesday. In addition to Soitu, the other nine finalists who presented their work throughout the week at SLAS2019 are:

Jeffrey Borenstein, Ph.D., Draper Labs
A High-Throughput Organ-on-Chip Platform for Drug Screening with Applications in Immuno-Oncology

Amy Brock, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Lineage-Resolved Molecular and Functional Analyses of Cancer Cell Populations

Sam Cooper, CEO, Phenomic AI
Digging into Molecular MOAs with High-Content Imaging and Deep-Learning

Steven George, M.D., Ph.D., University of California at Davis
Integrated 3D in vitro Models of Human Bone Marrow and Cancer

Taraka Sai Pavan Grandhi, Ph.D., Genomics Institute of Novartis Research Foundation
High-Throughput, CRISPR-Based 3D Screening Platform for Rapid Discovery of Novel CDK4/6 Inhibitor Resistance

Theodore Kee, M.S., National University of Singapore
AID.One: An Artificial Intelligence-Driven Digital Health Application for Clinical
Optimization of Combination Therapy

Ashley Laughney, Ph.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dissecting Tumor Cell Plasticity and Population Interactions Supporting Metastasis
Using Single Cell Genomics

Brian Paegel, Ph.D., Scripps Research
Microfluidic Functional Screening of DNA-Encoded Bead Libraries

David Yeo, Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University
Live-Cell Gene Imaging Nanotechnology for Cells, Tissue and Pre-Clinical Abnormal
Scarring Challenges

SLAS2019 showcases scientific advances and state-of-the-art applications of new technologies via 144 podium presentations, 300+ poster presentations, 300+ multinational exhibitors, 22 short courses, a menu of personalized career services and an abundance of intelligent network-building opportunities. For more information about SLAS2019, visit


SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) is an international community of more than 19,000 professionals and students dedicated to life sciences discovery and technology. The SLAS mission is to bring together researchers in academia, industry and government to advance life sciences discovery and technology via education, knowledge exchange and global community building.

SLAS publishes two MEDLINE-indexed scientific journals, SLAS Discovery and SLAS Technology. For more information about SLAS and its journals, visit and


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