Joseph De Rutte, M.S., Recognized with Innovation Award at SLAS2020

For Immediate Release

Joseph De Rutte

San Diego, CA, USA — The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) recognized Joseph De Rutte, M.S., (University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA) with the SLAS Innovation Award at the SLAS2020 International Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, CA. De Rutte received the award as recognition of his exceptional podium presentation, “High-Throughput Encapsulation and Selection of Cells Based on Antibody Secretion Using Lab-on-a-Particle Technology.”

In his presentation, De Rutte discusses a particle-templated droplet, i.e. “Dropicle”, he and his team created to collect and quantify single-cell secretions without crosstalk in monodisperse droplets formed by precisely structured microparticles. These pre-fabricated particles are used to form monodisperse emulsions that encapsulate single cells, requiring only standard lab equipment for the end user. A platform that is fully compatible with standard lab equipment (e.g. pipettes, flow cytometers) has the potential to dramatically extend the reach of single-cell screening technology. Using this dropicle platform, researchers can perform droplet-based assays using standard lab equipment without sacrificing the precision of droplet microfluidics. Since dropicles are formed simultaneously, compartmentalization is rapid and can be easily scaled to accommodate large population screens.

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. De Rutte was also the recipient of a 2020 SLAS Tony B. Academic Travel Award.

The Innovation Award includes a $10,000 cash prize disbursed after the winner submits a scientific manuscript for peer reviewed publication in SLAS Discovery or SLAS Technology, the scientific journals of SLAS. In addition, De Rutte will be invited to participate on the 2021 Innovation Award judging panel, the 2021 international conference Scientific Program Committee and is granted a complementary one-year Premier Membership to SLAS as well as continued publicity of their accomplishment.

Listed in alphabetical order, the nine 2020 SLAS Innovation Award finalists selected to compete this year were:

Aram Chung, Ph.D., Korea University
µ-Hydroporator: A Next-Generation Intracellular Delivery Platform

Joseph De Rutte, M.S., University of California at Los Angeles
High-Throughput Encapsulation and Selection of Cells Based on Antibody Secretion Using Lab-on-a-Particle Technology

Pavan Chandra Konda, Ph.D., Duke University
Intelligent Microscopes Using Open-Source Hardware for High-Throughput Laboratory Automation

Oren Kraus, Ph.D., Phenomic AI
Interpreting AI models Trained on High-Content Microscopy Data

Georges Muller, Ph.D., SEED Biosciences SA
Enabling Precision Medicine: Pipetting at Single-Cell Resolution

J. Michael Ramsey, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A Benchtop Biochemical Analyzer: Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis Coupled to High-Pressure Mass Spectrometry (HPMS)

Ekaterina Vinogradova, Ph.D., Scripps Research
Integrated Phenotypic Screening and Chemical Proteomics to Discover Druggable Immunomodulatory Pathways

Pak Kin Wong, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
An Adaptable Microfluidic Platform for Single Cell Pathogen Identification and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing

Y. Shrike Zhang, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
Advanced Bioprinting Strategies for Tissue and Tissue Model Fabrication 


The SLAS International Conference and Exhibition is an annual event showcasing the world’s leading life sciences and technology products, services and education. This year, more than 5,000 scientists, academicians, technology providers and business leaders attended the annual conference in San Diego, CA, USA, for an innovative educational program focused on life sciences discovery and technology. The Exhibition portion of the conference hosted a record-breaking 337 life sciences and technology companies from around the world.

SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) is an international community of 16,000 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.


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