Innovative Technologies for Tomorrow's Discoveries

By Alan E. Fletcher, Ph.D.

April 28, 2019
Building on the success of the inaugural event last year, I am really looking forward to the 2019 SLAS Europe Conference and Exhibition, June 26-28, in Barcelona, Spain. There is so much exciting and innovating research happening across Europe, and I could not think of a more perfect setting than Barcelona in June to enjoy some science mixed with a little sun (fingers crossed) and sangria!

I especially want to thank the conference chairs Stuart Baddeley, vice president, GSK; Ignasi Belda, Ph.D., researcher, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; and Ute Vespermann, Ph.D., market development specialist Europe, Corning Life Sciences, who have put together a program of first-class laboratory science and technology presentations from global industry leaders.

The program features three scientific tracks:

  • Advances in In Silico Drug Discovery
  • Advances in Experimental Drug Discovery
  • Advances in Laboratory Automation Technology

And, back by popular demand, is a fourth track focused on Careers, Business and Technology: Explore the Opportunities. A big part of SLAS’s mission is help nurture and grow the next generation of leaders and SLAS conferences and symposia support that effort. This is one area of particular interest for me, having made the transition from a bench neuroscientist to a leader in a technology provider so I look forward to meeting our next generation of leaders during these sessions.

We have three keynote sessions offering intriguing insights and unique perspectives into the trends and technologies changing our industry and our lives. I am always energized after keynoters share their stories and challenge me to think outside my core workspace.

  • Peptides for Molecular Recognition and Brain Delivery: Ernest Giralt, Ph.D., professor at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, University of Barcelona
  • Insect Biotechnology, an Emerging Field with Great Economic Potential: Andreas Vilcinskas, Ph.D., head of the Applied Entomology Institute for Insect Biotechnology, University of Giessen
  • Natural Intelligence – Building the Future on Millions of Years of Expertise: Leen Gorissen, Ph.D., founder of Studio Transitio

The 2019 event also includes the all-important platform for companies to showcase their innovative and sought-after products and services to all of us. A unique way SLAS helps spotlight new and innovative organizations is through Innovation AveNEW for emerging and start-up companies. This was one of my personal highlights of our SLAS2019 meeting in Washington, where it was my pleasure as president to attend the awards presentation and meet a very talented group of people who are pioneering the next generation of research tools. Interested companies should apply by May 3 for the opportunity to have their exhibition space and a company representative’s travel and accommodations paid for by SLAS. Spread the word about this program for both SLAS Europe 2019 and SLAS2020 in San Diego. Exhibiting companies may also enter the New Product Award competition to have their new products recognized by the life sciences community. The Exhibition is open June 26 and 27. See who is participating!

Having started my involvement with the Society many years ago as a short course instructor I also am truly excited about plans for the day of intensive learning on June 25 with three Short Courses:

  • Implementing Automation, Data Management and Analytics in the Laboratory
  • Assay Guidance Workshop for High-Throughput Screening and Lead Discovery
  • 3D Culture Models and Organoids for Drug Discovery

In keeping with the SLAS Knowledge Content and Delivery Council efforts to integrate and align journal and event content, we will repeat our popular SLAS Author Workshop: How to Prepare a Manuscript for Publication led by the SLAS Discovery and SLAS Technology editors-in-chief.

And, of course, we’re not always so serious! We hope you start your Thursday with the SLAS Fun Run, a great way to get your blood moving before another day of scientific lectures and exhibits. It’s a non-competitive 5k or 7.5k run or walk along a beautiful Spanish beach. We will have some fun too with the Walking Gala Dinner at Purobeach, an urban oasis with one of Barcelona’s best sunset views. Relax and enjoy Mediterranean barbecue and cocktails with your colleagues on Thursday night.

Register by May 6 to take advantage of the early bird discount. And, there is still time to submit a poster abstract for presentation in Barcelona. View the details and submit your abstract by May 20.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2019 SLAS Europe Conference and Exhibition, where we will focus on Innovative Technologies for Tomorrow’s Discoveries!