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SBS 2011 Boasts Scientific Innovation and Inspirational Research

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SBS 2011, welcomed 1,654 participants from around the world to the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, FL, USA, March 27-31, 2011.

Among the five-day event’s educational highlights were six short courses, 75 podium presentations, 308 poster presentations, 43 exhibitor tutorials and two industry-sponsored workshops. New this year, participants had access to SLAS Career Connections, a forum for employers and job seekers to connect online and through a series of on-site programs that included free one-on-one career coaching.

Participants found the SBS 2011 keynote series especially inspiring. Speakers included Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., Professor, Duke University School of Medicine; Hugh Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Chemical Physiology, The Scripps Research Institute; and Brian Shoichet, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco.

SBS 2011 participants also enjoyed a robust exhibition. The exhibit floor showcased the latest and most innovative technologies from 155 different companies. Six new products were launched on the exhibit floor.

“SBS 2011 was a huge success-from the scientific sessions and energetic exhibit floor, to networking events and the inspiring keynote speakers, everyone benefited from the conference in a variety of ways,” said SLAS CEO Greg Dummer. “We were especially thrilled to offer career coaching for the first time, as well as discount programs that allowed those affected by the job market to participate without feeling as much financial pressure.”

For the first time, SLAS presented three New Product Award (NPA) Designations at SBS 2011, which recognized the best of what was new on the exhibit floor. NPA winners were judged by a diverse panel of scientific specialists. The SBS 2011 NPA winners were:

• InSphero: GravityPLUS System
• Pharmadiagnostics: SoPRano Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR)-Based Screening using a Standard Absorbance Plate Reader
• Teflabs: Asante NaTRIUM Green and Asante Potassium Green Ion Channel Dyes

Four 2010 JBS Reviewer Excellence Awards were presented in recognition of excellence in manuscript review quality, timeliness and dedication to the Journal of Biomolecular Screening (JBS). Honorees were JBS reviewers Giancarlo Basile of Italy, Lorenz Mayr of Switzerland, Fernando Pelaez of Spain and Zhengrong Zhu of China. The awards were presented by JBS Editor-in-Chief Robert M. Campbell.

The 2011 SBS Award for Achievement in Biomolecular Sciences and Lead Discovery recognizes outstanding achievements in research, innovation, groundbreaking foundation or seminal contributions that have proven to be broadly applicable to biomolecular screening or pharmaceutical/agricultural lead discovery. Presented at least once every three years, Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University, received this year’s award. Lefkowitz also participated as one of this year’s keynote speakers.

Brian Shoichet, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and also an SBS 2011 keynote speaker, received the 2011 SBS Accomplishment Award. This honor is an intermittent award that recognizes an SLAS member for significant technical accomplishment, or for exceeding a benchmark or milestone in screening or the lead discovery process, or for an innovative and integrated use of mature technologies.

SLAS selected a limited number of student posters to be presented at the conference and compete for cash prizes. After being reviewed by a team of judges, the SBS 2011 Student Poster Award Winners were:

• 1st Place: Microfluidic Platform for High-Throughput Drug Screening of Angiogenesis Inhibitors During Endothelial Vessel Formation
By Travis Moore, Ju Hun Yeon, Sudong Kim, Hyun Jae Lee and Noo Li Jeon Seoul National University, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Seoul, North Korea
• 2nd Place: GABAB Receptor Allosteric Ligands Exhibit Pathway-Selective and Context-Dependent Effects: Implication for Drug Screening By Emmanuel Sturcher and Patricia McDonald The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular Therapeutics Jupiter, FL
• 3rd Place: In Vivo Essentiality of a Constitutive Plasmodium Pan-Sugar Permease and Transgenic Models for Screening of Anti-Malarial Sugar Analogs
By Martin Blume, Marion Hliscs, Dayana Rodriguez-Contreras, Marco Sanchez, Scott Landfear, Richard Lucius, Kai Matuschewski and Nishith Gupta Humboldt University, Department of Molecular Parasitology, Berlin, GermanyMax-Planck-Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
SLAS also selected ten outstanding posters submitted by scientific professionals who were not students. These concise examinations of new techniques and technologies from around the world were on display for all participants to view. The SBS 2011 Top 10 Posters were:
• Mathieu Arcard: A Homogenous Multiplexing Assay Studying the Phosphorylation-Interaction Interplay between MAP2Ks and MAP Kinases
• Frank Becker: An FCCS-Based Platform Technology Accelerates Drug Discovery
• Keith Ansell: Targeting the Malarial Protein Kinase PfCDPK1
• Renee Herber: High Content Analysis of an Automatable 3-Dimensional Cell Invasion Assay
• Wendy Lea: A 1536 Well-Based Kinetic Assay for Thioredoxin Glutathione Reducase Inhibitor Discovery and Antischistosomal Drug Development
• Simon Pitchford: Direct, Real-Time Detection of Kinase Type II Inhibitors Using Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) Detection
• Hanh Le: A High-Throughput Method for Profiling Genetically Characterized Cancer Cell Lines with Small Molecules
• Tina Settineri: Monitoring Post-Translational Modifications and Protein-Protein Interactions Using the Proximity Ligation Assay
• Ken Ward: Improved Dose Response Analyses Using Direct Dilution with Picoliter Dispense
• Anesh Sitaram: Integration of an Automated Combination Screening Approach with a Complex Angiogenesis Model for Discovery of Novel Drug Combinations
Industry professionals are already looking forward to SLAS2012, the inaugural SLAS Conference and Exhibition, which unites the former 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 SLAS2012 as the first in a series of keynote speakers.

Also included in the keynote series is Jing Cheng, Ph.D., Cheung Kong Professor in the Medical Systems Biology Research Center at Tsinghua University School of Medicine, Beijing, China. SLAS2012 will take place at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA, February 4-8, 2012.

To celebrate the new SLAS2012, all SBS 2011 full conference participants were eligible to win an SLAS2012 prize package that included roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations and full conference registration. Melinda Sosa of Birmingham, Alabama, was the lucky winner; chosen in a random drawing held at the close of the SBS 2011 exhibition.