Podium presentations at SLAS2019 are organized into ten educational tracks. Track and session titles and descriptions and names of track chairs and session chairs are listed 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 and, if selected, the committee will slot it into the most relevant track. 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 early October.
Track Chair(s): Shaun McLoughlin, Ph.D., AbbVie (USA), and Andreas Luippold, Ph.D., Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany)
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 approaches to biomarker analysis within in vitro and in vivo models. Planned sessions include:
Label-free bioanalytical techniques, such as mass spectrometry, are an attractive alternative to conventional label-dependent technologies, offering rapid assay development times and reducing the risk of false positives. This session will focus on the development of such techniques toward higher throughput applications, enabling their deployment earlier in hit discovery.
A key question in modern drug discovery is the discovery of biomarkers to assist in patient diagnosis and stratification in addition to monitoring efficacy and toxicity. While addressing marker translatability at an early stage is ambitious, establishing patho-physiological knowledge within in vivo models is essential for the translation of molecular markers. This session will focus both on the discovery, development and implementation of biomarkers using in vitro systems to strengthen novel therapeutic concepts as well as in vivo models to facilitate their translation to the human situation.
Phenotypic screening has emerged as a complimentary workflow enabling the identification of progression of unique targets into early discovery therapeutic pipelines. The promise of these screens is tempered by challenges involving hit selection and prioritization as well as in target identification and validation. This session will focus on technological advances addressing these issues.
Track Chair(s): Ralph Garippa, Ph.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (USA) and Deb Nguyen, Ph.D., Cellular Approaches, Inc. (USA)
The evolution of novel and more physiologically relevant assay technologies, combined with evolving strategies for compound, RNAi and CRISPR library screens, seeks to broaden both the scope of target classes that can be addressed and to improve HTS success rates. This track will focus on recent innovations across the field including the application of new instrumentation, engineered cells, and novel assay technologies for compound and genomic screening. The emphasis will be on actual recent case studies where the technology has been developed and implemented in screening campaigns with subsequent triage process to confirm and characterize hits. Planned sessions include:
Taking advantage of high-content, high-definition imaging, super resolution microscopy, single cell, or sophisticated analytical workflows (including quantitative image analysis and machine learning) to enhance target discovery, lead finding, or clinical translation.
Non-cellular assay development and screening, using well-established formats and next wave methods. Case studies using biochemical, binding, and biophysical screening methods for discovery, including classical targets (e.g., kinase activity) and non-classical targets (e.g., protein-protein interactions, nucleic acids) including classes previously considerered to be "undruggable."
How complex in vitro culture systems including ESCs / iPSCs are being used in conjunction with approaches such as CRISPR gene editing and 3D models in the next wave of phenotypic screens. This can encompass disease-relevant screens, novel target discovery, and enhanced translatable tissue models of efficacy, drug metabolism and toxicity.
Progressing away from 2D assays on plastic and glass, these time-dependent, multi-dimensional approaches (spheroids, acini, organoids,microfluidics, bioprinting) are being used in drug discovery to improve the quality of candidate compounds. Includes new approaches to immune:cancer cell interactions, lineage tracing, and contributions of the microenvironment.
How is the power of NGS and other genomic platfiorms being leveraged in high-throughput screening? This session will explore pooled CRISPR-Cas9 or shRNA screens, single-cell RNAseq, cellular barcoding, native gene expression in cells, next-generation sequencing, and/or using DNA-encoded libraries.
Both time-tested and new cutting-edge assays are advancing disease-relevant targets and compounds from high-throughput screening through optimization. Examples may include biochemical and biophysical measures, multiplexed cell-based readouts like CyTOF, FACS, and other modalities to discriminate on-target and off-target activities.
Track Chair(s): Louis Scampavia, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute – Florida (USA) and Sam Michael, National Institutes of Health (USA)
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:
This session focuses on the use of physiologically-relevant models (e.g., patient-derived tumor organoids, spheroids, co-cultures, etc.) for comprehensive screenings (biochemical or genetic) in support of drug discovery.
This session will address approaches using fully automated platforms to close the gap on automating high content analysis for high throughput screening.
This session focuses on leveraging the power of high throughput screening to perform fully automated phenotypic assays, orthogonal target based assays, 3D systems, and more.
This session will focus on the design of automated processes that are made possible by coupling components together to realize an entire automated workflow. Topics to include data management, increasing throughput, high level software control and the logisitics of pairing automated systems together.
This session will focus on how emerging technologies and novel screening strategies can be implemented to both empower, redirect and adapt automation to meet new demands/needs for high throughput technologies including IoT platforms, fragment-based, automating target-based and complex phenotypic screening.
This session will focus on in-house designed and developed automation to support internal laboratory processes. The emphasis will be on home grown and open source technologies and not vendor supplied or commercially available platforms.
Track Chairs: Wade Blair, Ph.D., ViiV Healthcare (USA) and Jonah Rainey, Ph.D., MabVax Therapeutics (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:
Historically it has been difficult to develop biologics for complex targets, such as membrane proteins, HLA:peptide complexes and many infectious disease targets. However, advances in B- and T-cell cloning techniques, employment of novel immunoglobulin-like binding domains and antibody libraries with enhanced diversity or enriched for target-specific properties address these challenges. Ultimately these advances may enable new classes of biologic therapeutics and/or expanded the applications of existing therapeutic approaches.
Emerging technologies combining miniaturization, next-generation sequencing and automation enable biologics discovery in a massively parallel fashion and accelerate the identification of lead candidates for therapeutic development.
This session highlights phenotypic and other novel screens and methods to deorphanize hits. Learn to harness the power of target agnostic and activity driven approaches. Gain a better understanding of MoA through target identification and mapping of downstream processes.
Track Chairs: Gregory Davis, Ph.D., MilliporeSigma (USA) and Luke Gilbert, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco (USA)
Novel approaches for specific and efficient manipulation of human cells are driving the next revolution in biology, in much the same way that recombinant DNA technology fueled life science research for the past forty years. Methodologies such as RNAi and CRISPR have enabled basic research to determine gene function and identify new drug targets within broad biological contexts at ever increasing speed. Further, precision editing of genes coupled with continued innovation in the understanding and diversity of cell types promises the creation of more relevant models for phenotypic screening. This track will focus on emergent cellular technologies, including the development of genome editing tools, application of these tools to create accurate cellular models, and functional screens used to make sense of the genetic complexity underlying disease and development. Planned sessions include:
Nature has provided a wealth of molecular systems that can be repurposed to modify genomes directly and alter gene expression. This session will focus on cutting-edge tools, such as CRISPR, that have enhanced our ability to dissect genomes, at single cell or whole-genome scales.
The application of genome engineering technologies to cell-based models has enabled rapid, detailed interrogation of gene activity, a critical step in understanding how gene dysfunction leads to disease. This session will highlight advances in functional genomic technologies and provide experimental paradigms for successful genetic screens.
The outcomes of a phenotypic screen are only as useful as the fidelity of the cellular model. This session will focus on the development of faithful and robust pre-clinical models that can be deployed in screening assays.
Track Chairs: Amy Kallmerten, Ph.D., Merck (USA) and Yohann Potier, Ph.D., Novartis (USA)
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 that 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:
For centuries labs have been functioning on a model designed the same way and while automation and informatics allow scaling up and speeding up processes, it has not changed the underlying method. More recent efforts enable different process with a tighter interaction between digital and human. Smaller barrier to data access, synthesis, analysis or manufacturing enables innovation and creativity with a shorter path from idea to implementation, lowering cost of discovery and maintenance, independent of the size of the team. Automation, collaboration tools, digital assistants are now available for the community to support full digital workflows redefining the concept of work in research. The so-called “Lab of the Future” leverages available technologies, datasets and algorithms to facilitate discovery workflow and go beyond simple digitization of the information.
This session will focus on enabling science through data sharing, integration, availability and associated tools as well as process and ethical challenges. The complexity of scientific discovery and its associated costs amplify the need for greater collaboration, cooperation and data sharing among stakeholders. Available data repositories have been widely used by the community but ontology issues, format incompatibility and increasingly stringent regulation have made progress slow. A recent cultural shift in the industry is putting renewed focus on data sharing and data repurposing to enable risk sharing and data governance while maintaining high standards for data quality and privacy.
We have digitized everything from our paper records to our business processes for years and in the process, may have caused just as many problems as we've solved. However, within the the past few years -- due to the convergence of technologies like machine learning, real-time analytics, commodity sensors and ubiquitous wireless communications -- we've witnessed a significant transformation in the consumer markets, which has more recently begun to take root in the business markets. This trend has enormous potential beyond the "smart home" and wearable technology that has penetrated our everyday lives. Moving from Digitizing to Digitalizing business processes and workflows takes us from a rip and replace experience to one of enablement, improvement and ultimately transformation of business. Where digitization is an operational necessity, digitalization enables innovation and competitive advantage by embedding data at the very core of our environments and finally giving us an opportunity to see humans not removed from the process, but instead allowing us to return to a more natural way of interfacing with our work and finally experience a world where machines truly support and augment us to help us realize our potential.
Track Chairs: Peter Hodder, Ph.D., Amgen (USA) and Margaret Porter Scott, Ph.D., Genentech (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, which enable them to advance chemical matter for clinically relevant pharmacologies. Planned sessions include:
Protein degradation has emerged as a powerful approach for small molecules to modulate previously "hard to drug" targets. Applications of molecules and technologies that enable targeting of proteins to the degradome will be presented.
Hit validation in novel target space requires new methods that provide information beyond binding or modulation of activity. This session will focus on the newest generation of biophysical technologies that elucidate target binding sites, kinetics and/or protein conformation.
Advances in genomics and proteomics have introduced new platforms to researchers engaged in early-stage drug discovery. Applications of these technologies for drug target validation as well as MOA studies of small molecules will be presented.
Track Chairs: Tony Dickherber, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute/NIH (USA) and Kristen Brennand, Ph.D., Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine (USA)
The High Definition Biotechnology track focuses on the application of microfluidic, optical, and molecular tools in disease biology, diagnostics, screening and translational medicine. The session will emphasize state-of-the-art, quantitative, high-throughput and high-resolution approaches in both simple cellular systems and complex tissues. These approaches enable multiparametric studies that reveal the interplay of genetics, disease and therapeutic opportunities and move personalized medicine ahead. Topics include the latest specialized engineering and assay technologies, including single-cell and sequencing-based approaches, new imaging modalities and cutting-edge application and disease areas including oncology and neurology. Planned sessions include:
This session will address highly content analysis of single cells, emphasizing clinical application of technologies that span high-resolution and high-throughput to advance research in oncology and neurology.
This session will focus on tackling big data associated challenges to assessing multi-omic molecular characterization data, imaging, and EHR to enable new strategies for precise diagnosis and selection of treatment options.
This session will focus on incorporating high resolution imaging, next generation mass spectrometry and CRISPR for stem cell applications, emphasizing clinical application of technologies that span high-resolution and high-throughput to advance research in oncology and neurology.
Track Chairs: Sammy Datwani, Ph.D., Labcyte (USA) and Amar Basu, Ph.D., Wayne State University (USA)
This track broadly encompasses new and emerging technologies including microfluidics, microarrays, microreactors, nanodevices, nanotechnologies, and organ-chips with emphasis on methods and materials applicable to high-throughput analysis, high-content screening, point-of-care diagnostics, systems biology and clinical analysis. Planned sessions include:
The commercialization of microfluidic and nanofluidic technologies promises new tools for high throughput, high efficiency and integrated biological and chemical experimentation. This session will address important insights and lessons learned from commercializing novel microfluidic and nanofluidic devices and integrated systems in the life sciences and clinical settings. Of particular interest, will be contributions describing integrated systems for cellular analysis, point-of-care use, bio-analytical systems, sample preparation, novel sensors and medical devices.
Organs-on-chips technologies use human cells in fluidic channels to recreate the functions and physiology of organs and organ systems. These systems have been shown to predict human response more accurately than current in vitro and animal models. Accordingly, they hold the potential to aid drug development and the study of organ physiology and the onset and progression of diseases. This session will showcase new advances in the field.
Micro and nanotechnologies enable novel platforms for isolating, encapsulating, and analyzing biological entities, including nucleic acids, proteins, and cells. This session will cover emerging technologies, and their applications in high throughput single cell analysis, 3D cell culture, digital and single molecule detection, '-omics', and in-situ chemistry.
Track Chairs: Jonathan O'Connell, Ph.D., Forma Therapeutics (USA) and Andrew Alt, Ph.D., University of Michigan (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:
This session will focus on small molecule libraries used for high throughput screening. We will cover a variety of topics including diversity – how big do libraries need to be? Many libraries grew significantly in the early 2000s and have not significantly evolved since. How is the industry tackling this and is it actually an issue? How are we reviving and updating old libraries and adding novel content through focused chemical libraries, macrocycles and covalent compounds?
This session will focus on the utility of DNA-encoded libraries for hit identification. Specific attention will be paid to strategies for selection, eliminating non-specific binders, managing challenging targets such as DNA-binding proteins and membrane proteins. We will also look at data analysis and selecting hits to make off-DNA, elucidating the real hit from the chemical recipe and engage in discussion on library scale and diversity.
In this session we will focus on libraries that sit on the fringes of the chemical space normally associated with screening collections. We will discuss the use and application of fragment collections, macromolecules, natural products and dark chemical matter to name a few. Key to each of the presentations in this session will be a focus on how to leverage and screen these classes of molecules.