What to expect from SLAS Europe 2023

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SLAS Europe 2023 will take place 22-26 May in Brussels, Belgium, where attendees will embrace the theme Science Set in Motion. DDW’s Multimedia Editor Megan Thomas explores what to expect from the event.

Scientific tracks

SLAS Europe 2023 will feature four tracks focused on life sciences and their global impact: Biology Unveiled, Frontiers in Technology, Shaping the Future of Therapeutics and Bio-Entrepreneurship in Europe.

The Brussels Expo welcomes more than 100 exhibitors, including many companies whose work makes these tracks possible. Atrandi Biosciences’ novel technology platform enables researchers to gain insights into the biology of single cells, offering immediate applications in single-cell sequencing, drug and antibody discovery, functional metagenomics, microbial analysis, directed evolution, and synthetic biology. On the other hand, Bionomous provide AI-powered solutions for screening, sorting and dispensing of small biological entities. Meanwhile, Curiox Biosystems is enabling accurate biological analysis through automation. BMG LABTECH develops and manufactures innovative, high- quality, and reliable microplate reader instrumentation, while Microtechnix (MTX) is a company providing innovative solutions for biological laboratory assays. Then there is Zaber Technologies, a company that designs and manufactures high-precision positioning devices such as linear actuators, linear stages, multi-axis systems, and stepper motor controllers.

Awards

Tony B Travel Award

The Tony B Travel Award Program includes airfare or mileage reimbursement, conference registration and shared accommodations, for which students, graduate students, postdoctoral associates and junior faculty are encouraged to apply. Those who have completed undergraduate and/or graduate school and are within the first five years of their professional career are also eligible.

The 2022 podium winner was Viktoria Zieger, Imtek – University of Freiburg, who presented: Selective High- Throughput Deposition of Microtumors for in vitro Studies on 3D Tumor Models.

The 2022 poster winners included: Lennard Riek, Imtek – University of Freiburg, A Bioprinting Fidelity Imager BioFI for a Standardized Characterization of Bioprinting Processes; Winston Chiu, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, The Caps-It, a Multi- Purpose Fully Automated Lab-in-a-Box System in the Fight Against Current and Future Pandemics; Srijit Seal, University of Cambridge, Biological Interpretation of Cell Painting and Gene Expression Features for Mitochondrial Toxicity Prediction; and Karolin Voßgröne, University of Copenhagen, Combining Cancer Genetic Analysis with Arrayed RNAi and CRISPR/ Cas9 Screens to Identify New Tumor Suppressor Candidate.

SLAS Student Poster Award

The SLAS Student Poster Award recognises innovative research by students, graduate students, post- doctoral associates and junior faculty (less than four years in first academic appointment) who are chosen to present a poster during SLAS Europe 2023. The top three winners will receive a cash award of €500 each and selected by the judging panel, which is comprised of individuals selected by the SLAS Student Poster Award Judging Panel Chair and formally approved by the SLAS Awards and Grants Committee.

In 2022, Srijit Seal, a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge, UK, won the SLAS Student Poster Award when he delved into chemoinformatics – using modeling and interpretation of the cell painting assay to predict bioactivity and toxicity data. Winston Chiu, a doctoral student at the University of Leuven, Belgium, won the award for his work using a lab- in-a-box platform to capitalise on high-throughput screening (HTS) studies of emerging infectious pathogens.

SLAS Ignite Award

The SLAS Ignite Award recognises the best start-up or emerging company exhibiting within Innovation AveNEW, the specially designated area for start-ups and emerging companies which is located in the centre of the exhibition. Companies selected for Innovation AveNEW, and who opt-in to compete for the SLAS Ignite Award, will be judged by an SLAS panel on a combination of key concepts, including their marketing plan, market presence and potential, funding prospects, plan for growth and the existence of balanced company leadership, among other qualities.

The 2022 IGNITE Award was given to Shinephi, a spin-off of The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Spain, led by Dr Roland Terborg. The project is based on the phase-imaging technology developed in the research group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Dr Valerio Pruneri, and is being incubated in the KTT Launchpad at ICFO.

Short courses

Short courses will take place at the SLAS Europe 2023 on Tuesday, May 23. These include:

  1. Automated, label-free MALDI-MS-based cell assays: from feasibility study to high-throughput screening: This course introduces to MALDI MS and covers recent advances in cell-based assays for the determination of compound uptake or drug actions using MALDI-MS and provides an overview of the modern technology for whole cell phenotyping. It will be led by Björn C. Fröhlich, Post-Doctoral Researcher at CeMOS in Germany, and Steven Van Helden, Chief Technology Officer at Pivot Park Screening Centre in the Netherlands.
  2. Developing microfluidic systems for biochemical and cell-based assays: Microfluidics has long offered the promise of smaller, more efficient and more biologically relevant assay systems. Managing all of these elements using iterative design and prototyping can play a key role in successful project delivery, and marrying technologies with biochemical or cellular assays has the potential to bring disruptive change across fields as diverse as personalised medicine, diagnostics and drug screening. Mark Lyons, CEO of HookeBio in Ireland, shares his expertise through this course.
  3. High content screening: an introduction to instrumentation, assay development, screening, image and data analysis: Eberhard Krausz, Short Course Instructor from ChemBioCon in Belgium, will be running a half-day course that provides an introductory level overview of the state-of- the-art components of HCS including the wide variety of imagers, good practice in cell-based assay development and some showcases of high- content screens in industry and academia.
  4. Use of genetic and non-genetic agents for target validation: Dr Davide Gianni, Senior Director at AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom, will show how technologies are being applied in the field of target validation in industry and academia and address how the integration of genome editing, targeted protein degradation and AI/ ML/bioinformatic tools is impacting the search for newly validated targets. Additionally, Dr Gianni will share insights on the use of these new tools in target validation and how they might revolutionise the drug discovery paradigm.

DDW Volume 24 – Issue 2, Spring 2023

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