By Alan E. Fletcher, Ph.D.
July 22, 2019
As I was thinking about what to write for this month’s column, I went back to take a look at some of the answers I prepared for the SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood e-zine when first joining the SLAS Board of Directors in 2017. A network of like-minded scientists; share their experiences; leverage their collective knowledge; bridging technology and science; and stay current on new scientific and technology developments were among the phrases I used for what SLAS is and why it’s important to me. All that was only in my first couple of answers!
Most within SLAS will say that these characteristics are demonstrated most powerfully at the conferences. The 2019 SLAS Europe Conference in late June drew nearly 1,000 attendees hungry for the exchange of knowledge. My hope is that right now – today – every attendee is applying a new learning or contacting a colleague they met at the conference to discuss an idea or application.
Our knowledge sharing continues this fall with a series of symposia that provide access to subject-matter experts in three areas of interest – artificial intelligence in process automation (Boston), 3D models and high-content analysis (London) and sample management (Boston). The area of AI and machine learning is one that is of particular interest to me and I am excited to see how it can impact disease research over the years to come.
Before you know it SLAS2020 will be here – don’t just save the date, but submit a podium or poster presentation and level up your participation and education January 25-29 in San Diego. You can read the emerging details on the SLAS2020 website, so I’d like to focus on how YOU can make the most of this conference. You see, I truly believe a person receives rewards from any activity in proportion to the effort they themselves invest in that activity.
Therefore, my advice to you for experiencing the most you possibly can from SLAS2020 is this: engage. Become a part of this conference’s offerings. Have you been working on something innovative, relevant and applicable to the 10 scientific tracks at SLAS2020? Submit an abstract by August 5 for podium consideration. Don’t forget to indicate your interest in being considered for the SLAS Innovation Award – SLAS’s highest honor that carries a $10,000 cash prize. See past winners.
Maybe you’re working on how automation and screening can play a key role in the progression of new therapeutics, or the impact of novel assays, microfluidics and high-content screening campaigns for biologics discovery. Biologics Discovery Track Chairs Rob Howes, Ph.D., (AstraZeneca UK) and Janice Reichert, Ph.D., (The Antibody Society USA) want to hear from you.
Or perhaps your work is in the application of state-of-the-art, quantitative, high-throughput and high-resolution approaches to both cellular models and complex tissues – those molecular, biochemical, bioengineering and bioinformatic strategies in disease biology, diagnostics, screening and translational medicine. A new scientific track this year is Precision Medicine Technologies, and Track Chairs Kristen Brennand, Ph.D., (Mount Sinai School of Medicine USA) and John Joslin, Ph.D., (Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation USA) look forward to your input.
Is digital technology and scientific information management your area of expertise? Do you excel at establishing strategy and culture – as well as the hardware and software – of today’s modern digital research lab? Then be sure Data Analysis and Informatics Track Chairs Yohann Potier, Ph.D., (Novartis USA) and Nicola Richmond, Ph.D., (GlaxoSmithKline UK) know what you have to offer.
If you are not ready to present at the podium this year, why not submit a scientific poster abstract? SLAS is well-known for the high level of scientific exchange through its hundreds of posters each year. Those who submit poster abstracts by early October will be informed if accepted in time to qualify for early-bird registration discounts. Otherwise posters are accepted through January 13, 2020. Students: your deadlines are earlier if you wish to apply for the SLAS Tony B. Academic Travel Award or be a part of the SLAS2020 Student Poster Competition.
Exhibitors, too, are challenged to dig in beyond the booth by entering the SLAS New Product Award, and startup and emerging companies are encouraged to apply for a spot on SLAS Innovation AveNEW and a chance to win the SLAS Ignite Award.
Let me close this column with another one of my answers from the SLAS e-zine article. When asked what I would tell someone considering SLAS membership, I responded: This is the only society that brings together multidisciplined scientists from both research and commercial backgrounds in a forum of collective knowledge sharing. It provides a unique opportunity to network with some of the best minds in the industry and to keep abreast of the latest technology applications and advancements.
Take steps to maximize your SLAS2020 experience even before you set foot in San Diego next January. I am a great believer that the more you give the more you receive in return and my career has certainly benefited from being a part of this unique group of outstanding individuals. Thank you SLAS!
Not yet a member of SLAS? Join now to take advantage of the discounts and deliverables!