It's Been a Pleasure to Serve You as SLAS President

By Alan E. Fletcher, Ph.D.

December 19, 2019
Some might say the year “winds down” in December. In my experience, that’s not really the case. We do tend to pause a bit, but then we take a deep breath, forge ahead and finish setting our goals for the next year. And, I can assure you, there is no winding down at SLAS!

When planning for the next year and beyond, of course it is important to look back and assess as well. As I complete my term as SLAS president, I can say I am extremely proud of SLAS, especially regarding the 2019 accomplishments noted below.

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve our community this year. SLAS helps each and every one of us become more knowledgeable, further energized and better positioned to make a difference. When I pass the gavel to Emilio Diez Monedero, Ph.D., at SLAS2020 in San Diego in January, I know that SLAS is making a positive impact on life sciences technology and discovery for scientific advancement.

Expansion of European Presence

SLAS has worked diligently – and effectively – to achieve the SLAS Strategic Plan goal of expanding the Society’s educational presence in Europe. One simply has to look at the number of additional symposia already held and those planned for 2020, as well as the partnerships forged with other key organizations in the European space like One Nucleus. We are looking forward to our conference in Vienna and working with the dynamic community in Austria.

CONNECTED: The SLAS Online Networking Center

Another objective of the SLAS Strategic Plan was to enhance and increase year-round interaction among the global SLAS community. Enter CONNECTED! CONNECTED is a robust platform for us to talk, share and debate – a bit of the conference experience every day, right on our devices! Please log on, get involved and see what this can do for you. You can read a bit more in my previous column.

APPLIED Online Learning Center

SLAS excels at education, and now we’re putting it all in one place for the larger life sciences community to explore at their convenience. Discover conference presentations to symposia offerings to journal webinars to one-on-one interviews with the industry’s top minds. Access all of this in the APPLIED Online Learning Center today.

Artificial Intelligence Deep Dive

SLAS presented its first symposium focused on the recent developments in the use of machine learning and AI in life sciences technology. The October 2019 SLAS AI in Process Automation Symposium was impactful and sure to be on the SLAS calendar going forward. This also led to a personal highlight of the year for me – the opportunity to co-author a paper for Drug Discovery World with Yohann Potier, Ph.D. (Voyager Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA), and Michael A. Tarselli, Ph.D. (SLAS, Boston, MA).


All of the above took the combined leadership of the SLAS Board of Directors, committees, volunteers, professional team and YOU, the SLAS community. I thank each and every one of you for your contributions. Let’s keep it up in 2020 and beyond.

I would like to offer a special thank you at this time to fellow SLAS Board members whose tenure also ends in February: Catherine Tralau-Stewart, Ph.D. (Takeda, Palo Alto, CA), and Steve Young, Ph.D. (Arcus Biosciences, Hayward, CA). It’s been my pleasure to work with you! I also extend a warm welcome to the three new members who will replace us on the SLAS Board of Directors: Sue Crimmin, Ph.D. (GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, PA); Ira Hoffman, M.S. (HighRes Biosolutions, Beverly, MA); and Tim Spicer, Ph.D., (Scripps, Jupiter, FL).

Thanks for the opportunity, and I look forward to seeing you at SLAS events in the future!