For Immediate Release
Innovation, Ignite and New Product Award Winners Announced
San Diego, CA (March 6, 2023) – The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) concluded its 2023 international conference and exhibition, February 25 – March 1, at the San Diego Convention Center with a record attendance of more than 7,300 people from 40 countries. The event’s exhibition also sold-out with a record 388 laboratory automation providers and vendors of laboratory research tools and technology. Nineteen start-up biotech companies from around the world participated in the Innovation AveNEW area of the exhibition. SLAS2023 is a major purchasing hub for life sciences researchers and laboratory personnel from academic, industry and government labs. More than 130 speakers presented leading-edge research and unique automation use cases across nine scientific disciplines with topics ranging from Data Science and AI, Automation Technologies, Micro-Nano Technologies, New Modalities, to Precision Medicine and Diagnostics, and Advances in Bioanalytics.
Keynote speakers included IBM Research’s Accelerated Discovery Team member Josh Smith, Ph.D., who opened the conference with a discussion of the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on drug discovery, therapeutics and biomarkers. The conference closed with best-selling science author Sam Kean.
SLAS bestowed several awards to its exhibitors, including three New Product Awards, which went to Blink AG (Thuringen Germany) for its Blink X, a technology that places molecular analysis tools in reach for more users in life sciences, biotech, environmental testing and more; Byonoy GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) for its Absorbance 96 Automate, the first on-deck, 96-well microplate reader that fits on a single SBS position; and Dynamic Biosensors (Munich, Germany) for the HeliXCyto – the first-ever biosensor for real-time interaction cytometry enabling scientists to measure association/dissociation kinetics, half-life, affinity and avidity directory on cells.
The SLAS Ignite Award, which includes a $5,000 prize, is given annually to the most promising start-up company within innovation AveNEW and this year’s honor went to Paris-based Okomera, developer of pioneering droplet microfluidics for parallel screening of patient-derived spheroids to enable precision cancer treatment. Innovation AveNEW is a dedicated section of the SLAS exhibition floor for start-ups and emerging companies in the life sciences research space. Exhibitors in this area apply for a spot and if chosen, are given a complimentary exhibit kiosk, full registration to the conference, travel and accommodations for one representative and additional multi-channel publicity.
SLAS awards also recognized superior scientific presentations. SLAS bestows its $10,000 Innovation Award annually and of the 11 finalists, this year’s Innovation Award winner was Yusuf Roohani, Ph.D., of Stanford University with his presentation “GEARS: Predicting Transcriptional Outcomes of Novel Multi-gene Perturbations.” GEARS is a research method that has higher precision than existing approaches in predicting five distinct genetic interaction subtypes and can identify the strongest interactions more than twice as well as prior approaches.
Finally, three students were recognized with $500 Student Poster Awards: Samuel Little, Ph.D. Candidate from Concordia University won with his presentation “An automated platform for engineering primary human T-cells with digital microfluidics”; Zachary Sitte, Graduate Student from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill won with “Supported Gel Slabs: A Promising Method for Generating Tumor-like Structures and Screening Toxicants in a 3D Environment” and Riley Whalen, Research Assistant from Oregon Health & Science University excelled with “Ultra-high content analyses of circulating and solid tumor cells.”
SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) is an international professional society of academic, industry and government life sciences researchers and the developers and providers of laboratory automation 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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