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17 Jan 2013

Society of Laboratory and Automation Screening (SLAS), Florida, January 2013

Society of Laboratory and Automation Screening (SLAS), Orlando, Florida, January 12-16, 2013-David Singleton and Tim Martin

Apparently, high throughput screening and laboratory automation is thriving despite the changes in large pharmaceutical research labs.  This second annual SLAS (formed from 2010 marriage of biological sciences and laboratory automation societies) was attended by 3800 interested participants from 44 countries and was complete with keynote speakers, parallel sessions, short-courses, posters and exhibitors.

The president of the society, Jeff Palsay, announced plans for expanded reach and bridging into Europe for 2013.   The Innovation award was won by Andrea Weston of Bristol Myers-Squibb for her work coupling mass spec detection to a Cytochrome p450 inhibition assay.

Despite glorious Florida weather in mid-January, the windowless, concrete exhibition hall was our residence for the meeting.  Robotics and device companies were well represented featuring reagent handling, assay, hardware and informatic data processing solutions.  Our reagent antibody and peptide display seemed in a minor category, however, conversations with those scientists who dropped by were engaging, complex giving help for those wanting help with what reagents to add into those assay wells.  Custom antibodies seemed to predominate the conversations.

Expansion, recruitment and homogenizing the two groups will help the SLAS society to flourish.  Their 2014 meeting in San Diego hopefully will show growth and even more interested scientists and business leaders going.