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SLAS2020 Scientific Podium Program

Podium presentations at SLAS2020 are organized into ten educational tracks. Track and session titles and descriptions and names of track chairs and session chairs follow below.

The Scientific Program Committee selects speakers based on the innovation, relevance and applicability of research. If your proposed topic does not squarely fit into the focus of one of these tracks, please submit it for committee consideration regardless. The committee members use their judgment and experience to select presentations that best address the interests and priorities of today’s life sciences discovery and technology community.

Podium abstracts will be assessed in late summer and the podium program will be finalized and published by mid-September.

Advances in Bioanalytics and Biomarkers Track

Track Chair(s): Andreas Luippold, Ph.D., Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany) and Martin Giera, Ph.D., Leiden University Medical Center (The Netherlands)

The qualitative and quantitative characterization of endogenous and exogenous analytes in biological systems are the basis of drug discovery and development. This track will highlight important developments in bioanalytical technologies, including advances in label free technologies, applications of target and mechanism deconvolution techniques, and omics approaches to biomarker analysis. Planned sessions include:


Assay Development and Screening

Track Chair(s): Joe McGivern, Ph.D., Amgen (USA) and Melissa Crisp, Ph.D., Eli Lilly (USA)

This track will focus on recent innovations across the assay development and screening field, including the adoption of novel technologies and intelligent informatics approaches, to enable the implementation of effective screening campaigns and hit triage strategies to identify, validate and characterize potential leads. Attendees will hear about the development of robust, physiologically-relevant biochemical, biophysical and cellular assays that are crucial for identifying active ligands that engage their targets directly. There will be an emphasis on recent case studies where cutting-edge assay approaches to improve the success rates of screening have been coupled with next-generation therapeutic modalities and novel mechanisms of action to broaden the scope of target classes that can be drugged.


Automation and High-Throughput Technologies

Track Chair(s): Sam Michael, NIH (USA) and Helen Plant, B.Sc., AstraZeneca (UK)

This track focuses on the innovative use of biological or chemistry applications, tools, technologies, and techniques as they pertain to automated high throughput screening, the advancement of laboratory processes or improvement of the quality and impact of experimental laboratory data. Emphasis is placed on advancements in chemically and biologically relevant technologies using engineering, analytical, informatics, and application to cutting edge automation-assisted research. Planned sessions include:


Biologics Discovery

Track Chairs: Rob Howes, Ph.D., AstraZeneca (UK) and Janice Reichert, Ph.D., The Antibody Society (USA)

The success of biologic therapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies, T-cell receptors, cellular therapies and other signaling molecules, in the clinic has put greater emphasis on earlier stage efforts to increase efficiency, productivity and innovation. This track will emphasize innovative solutions to increase the breadth, depth and impact of early-stage efforts to fuel the biologics pipeline. In particular, how automation and screening can play a key role in the progression of new therapeutics as well as the impact of novel assays, microfluidics and high content screening campaigns for biologics discovery. Planned sessions include:


Cellular Technologies

Track Chairs: Jason Ekert, Ph.D., MBA, GlaxoSmithKline (USA) and Nancy Allbritton, M.D., Ph.D., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (USA)

Attendees will learn from industry and academic leaders about new cellular technologies with a focus on application and translation of complex multi-cellular tissues and organ-like systems. The use of organoids, organ-on-chips, and microphysiologic models for the understanding of normal physiology and creation of disease models will be covered in the sessions. The audience will also learn about applications of these multicellular tissues and constructs in drug assays and toxicology screening. The track will also address the application of genome editing tools and genetic screens such as CRISPR Cas to develop high-fidelity models of normal and diseased human tissues for investigation of their physiologic behaviors and pharmacologic responses. Planned sessions include:


Data Analysis and Informatics

Track Chairs: Yohann Potier, Ph.D., Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (USA) and Nicola Richmond, Ph.D., GlaxoSmithKline (UK)

The world is rapidly transforming. Data is ambient and exists in volumes far exceeding the quantities imagined by the pioneers of our fields. As data volume and complexity continues to grow exponentially, as does the demand for tools which can rise to the occasion. Gone are the days of my data and your data. Looking at a single or even multiple sets of the same kind of data will not yield the breakthroughs it once did but alongside these new challenges are new opportunities for technology to empower discovery. This session will focus on the rapidly evolving role of digital technology and scientific information management including the strategy and culture, as well as the hardware and software of the modern digital research lab. Emphasis will be placed on turning data into knowledge and knowledge into insight with additional consideration for translational science, decision-support and the meaning of automation in the digital age. Planned sessions include:


Drug Target Strategies

Track Chairs: Margaret Scott, Ph.D., Genentech (USA) and Tim Wigle, Ph.D., Ribon Therapeutics (USA)

Creating the next generation of small molecule drugs calls for novel drug target strategies. This track will provide assay and screening scientists with cutting edge information on technologies and methodologies that enable them to advance chemical matter for clinically relevant pharmacologies. Planned sessions include:


Micro- and Nanotechnologies

Track Chairs: Amar Basu, Ph.D., Bioelectronica Corporation (USA) and Elodie Sollier, Ph.D., Benkei (France)

Freeman Dyson famously said "when we make a new tool, we see a new cosmos." Micro and nano-scale tools have accelerated the pace of scientific discovery, particularly in next generation sequencing, single cell analysis, analytical chemistry, and high throughput screening. These tools leverage unique physics at small length scales, the ability to interact and encapsulate biological systems at similar length scales, and the ability to massively parallelize assays. Attendees will be given a broad overview of such emerging tools and their applications from both industry and academic leaders. This year's track will highlight advances in single cell and high-throughput technologies, miniaturization of analytical instruments, and robust fabrication technologies needed for commercialization. Planned sessions include:


Molecular Libraries

Track Chairs: Andrew Alt, Ph.D., University of Michigan (USA) and Guy Breitenbucher, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco (USA)

The Molecular Libraries track will focus on the science of developing and leveraging small molecule libraries for hit identification and target validation. The track will cover the breadth of strategies for library utility, covering traditional small molecule libraries, DNA-encoded libraries and fragment collections. Additionally, we will explore the outer fringes of the small molecule world, including looking at the use of macromolecules, natural products and macrocycles. The focus will be on how to build and use libraries to deliver leads for your programs. Planned sessions include:


Precision Medicine Technologies

Track Chairs: Kristen Brennand, Ph.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine (USA) and John Joslin, Ph.D., Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) (USA)

The Precision Medicine Technologies track includes molecular, biochemical, bioengineering, and bioinformatic strategies in disease biology, diagnostics, screening and translational medicine. The session will emphasize the application of state-of-the-art, quantitative, high-throughput and high-resolution approaches to both cellular models and complex tissues. These strategies enable multiparametric computational analyses to reveal the complex interplay of genetics, cell types, and drugs to advance precision medicine. Topics include improvements in stem cell-based disease modeling, bioengineering, molecular and cellular assays, and bioinformatic approaches. Planned sessions include: