When sitting down to compose this message, I took a look at my first message to you published February 6, 2020. The world was not yet facing the ramifications of the pandemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). My column began with me writing, “SLAS is truly an exceptional global organization.” I believed that then, and I believe that now.
SLAS prides itself on taking steps to meet the changing needs of a vital and innovative life sciences community. You work hard, and it is SLAS leadership's goal to provide meaningful and important services to assist you in your efforts. It is for this reason that we surveyed the membership a few months ago, took a hard look at our membership categories and benefits and made some changes.
An SLAS area that has remained fairly consistent during this strange year is our SLAS scientific journals, SLAS Discovery and SLAS Technology. Kudos to Editors-in-Chief Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics, Boston, MA, and Edward Chow, Ph.D., National University of Singapore, respectively, for continuing to deliver extraordinary scientific research and reviews.
Pandemic overload or COVID-19 fatigue – you hear about it in the news and you feel it personally as you navigate changes in your own life with uncertainty about when it will end. It's very real. I think that maybe the best way to deal with this heaviness is to focus on being proactive in helping reach solutions and to look to the many positives.
As I was reading the SLAS e-zine story on the growth of Andrew Alliance – a Waters Co., a statement from Piero Zucchelli really hit home. “It (SLAS2013) was a one-shot opportunity: the only physical event we could afford to attend.” His was a start-up company with great energy, desire and commitment to develop a solution, but its resources were limited. Piero knew that getting his product in front of our SLAS audience was his route to success.
With the SLAS Nominating Committee deep into its work to select three individuals to join the 2021-2023 SLAS Board of Directors, it got me thinking about my time on the Board. It also had me pondering about what makes a good Board member and why already-busy professionals should commit to serving SLAS in this way. My experience on the SLAS Board has been phenomenal, and I would do it again if given the chance!
SLAS continues to adapt to a world affected greatly by COVID-19. The Board of Directors, our different committees, volunteers and the professional team all are innovating and reinventing their usual approach to educating and connecting our community and finding new ways to remain a trusted and useful resource to our members. I am pleased to report that we have been able to move quickly.
As SLAS CEO Vicki Loise and I noted in a recent communication to the SLAS community, 'SLAS is practicing the art of the pivot.' Remaining committed to our mission, SLAS – like everyone else – is adapting its plans to the reality of a world addressing COVID-19. And that can bring uncertainty, lack of control and a certain amount of educated guesswork.
There is no better time than this, when the world is facing extraordinary circumstances due to the pandemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), to highlight the importance of online applications that enable us to stay in contact, carry out many of our work activities and also continue with our self-training and education.
Each year as I participate in the SLAS International Conference and Exhibition, I am reminded that SLAS is truly an exceptional global organization. The Society is uniquely positioned at the interface of science and technology – not only to help its diverse community achieve their fullest potential but to make a broad, deep and lasting impact on our world. SLAS2020 reinforced that feeling.