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Scientific Innovation and Inspiration Highlight an Energetic LabAutomation2011

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LabAutomation2011, the world’s leading conference and exhibition on emerging laboratory automation technologies, welcomed 4,407 participants from around the world to the Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, CA, USA, January 29-February 2, 2011.

Among the five-day event’s educational highlights were the top 100 podium presentations from the field of laboratory automation, 17 short courses, 186 poster presentations and 20 industry-sponsored workshops. In addition, participants had access to SLAS Career Connections, a forum for employers and job seekers to connect, which hosts an on-site program providing free career counseling. Other special sessions highlighted at LabAutomation2011 focused on hot topics such as budgeting for equipment and facilities, using “green” laboratory products and exploring the future of laboratory automation.

Participants found LabAutomation2011’s plenary line-up especially inspiring. Speakers included Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D., George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and Director of International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, and Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology; Daryl Lund, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Food Sciences and Emeritus Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison; and John M. Butler, Ph.D., NIST Fellow and Group Leader, Applied Genetics Group, Biochemical Science Division, Chemical Science & Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

LabAutomation2011 participants also enjoyed a robust exhibition. The exhibit floor showcased the latest and most innovative technologies from more than 240 different companies, including 40 first-time LabAutomation exhibitors. In addition, more than 40 new products were launched on the exhibit floor, demonstrating the importance of this event to the beginning of the 2011 sales cycle.

“We are very pleased with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from both participants and exhibitors during the conference and exhibition,” says Michelle Palmer, SLAS President. “Scientific sessions were engaging and well attended, the exhibit floor was brimming with energy and activity, and our networking events were a success. It was also gratifying knowing that SLAS was able to provide career coaching and discount programs to help participants who have been greatly impacted by the industry’s job market.”

In its fifth year, Innovation AveNEW is an SLAS program designed to assist a select few entrepreneurial start-up companies from around the world in showcasing their new, cutting-edge laboratory automation technologies and provide a forum for them to meet and network with leaders in the field. The program, which includes free exhibit space and travel, this year welcomed three highly innovative emerging companies as guest exhibitors. Located in a special section of the exhibit floor, Innovation AveNEW entrepreneurs shared their scientific inventiveness with LabAutomation2011 participants. Innovation AveNEW exhibitors included:

•    Flourescence Innovations – Bozeman, MT, USA
•    Freeslate – Sunnyvale, CA, USA
•    Inovia Technologies SA – Bex, Switzerland

Also in its fifth year is the New Product Award (NPA) Designation competition, which recognizes the best of what’s new on the exhibit floor. NPA winners are judged by a diverse panel of scientific specialists. LabAutomation2011 NPA winners include:

•    Cellasic – Pearl Microfluidic Hepatocyte Culture System
•    Covaris, Inc. – LE220 Ultrasonicator
•    Microsaic Systems Ltd – Microsaic 3500 MiD

LabAutomation participants are academic, commercial and government researchers, scientists and engineers from around the world who conduct research and develop new technologies to increase productivity, elevate experimental data quality, reduce lab process cycle times, or enable experimentation that otherwise would be impossible. Students and young professionals are also well-represented. This year SLAS awarded 51 Tony B. Academic Travel Awards to qualifying students and post-docs who authored posters or podium presentations.

Industry professionals are already looking forward to SLAS2012, the inaugural SLAS Conference and Exhibition which unites former premier events, LabAutomation and the SBS Conference and Exhibition. Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D., Scripps Family Chair Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute will headline the prestigious SLAS2012 line-up as the first in a series of keynote speakers. SLAS2012 will take place at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA, February 4-8, 2012.