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SLAS2018 Scientific Podium Program

Podium presentations at SLAS2018 are organized into ten educational tracks. Track and session titles and descriptions and names of track chairs and session chairs follow 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 regardless. 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.

A complete schedule of podium presentations and podium presentation abstracts are available within the SLAS2018 Event Scheduler.

Advances in Bioanalytics and Biomarkers Track

Track Chair(s): Melanie Leveridge, GlaxoSmithKline and Shaun McLoughlin, Abbvie

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 omics approaches to biomarker analysis. Planned sessions include:

  • Session Chair: Andreas Luippold, Boehringer Ingelheim

    Label-free bioanalytical techniques are an attractive alternative to conventional labelled detection technologies because, by definition, they do not require the use of reporter elements to facilitate measurement. They therefore offer rapid assay development, high sensitivity, and direct detection of analyte binding to target molecules. This session will focus on the recent advancements and application of such techniques to the drug discovery process, including, but not limited to, mass spectrometry and optical biosensors.

  • Session Chair: Christina Rau, Cellzome, GSK

    The individual Omics sciences, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, are a powerful tool for expanding our knowledge of the complexity of human diseases and for delivering mechanistic and predictive insights informing drug discovery processes. Biomarker research is taking advantage of recent advances in chromatography, mass spectrometry and bioinformatics leading to a transformation in the Omics landscape. This session will focus on opportunities, challenges and recent technological advancements.

  • Session Chair: Shaun McLoughlin , Abbvie

    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.

The following SLAS2018 Short Courses are recommended for those interested in Advances in Bioanalytics and Biomarkers:

In addition, the following SLAS SIGs are recommended for those interested in Advances in Bioanalytics and Biomarkers:

  • Automated Sample Preparation of Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms
  • Labware Leachables
  • Women Professionals in Science and Technology


Assay Development and Screening Track

Track Chair(s): Edward Ainscow, Carrick Therapeutics and Ralph Garripa, MSKCC

The continued development of novel and more physiologically relevant assay technologies combined with evolving strategies for compound, RNAi and CRISPR library screening seek 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, hardware, and novel assay technologies to compound and genomic screening. The emphasis will be on case histories where the technology has been developed and implemented in an HTS campaign and the triage process to confirm hits will be described. Planned sessions include:

  • Session Chair: Gianluca Pegoraro, NIH

    Non-target based approaches to drug discovery taking advantage of fast and high throughput 3D imaging, super resolution microscopy, or innovative single cell high content analysis workflows.

  • Session Chair: Keith Olsen, Corning

    Case studies in using innovative screening methods for target driven discovery for non-classical drug targets, including protein-protein interactions, nucleic acids and undruggable targets.

  • Session Chair: Deb Nguyen, Cellular Approaches

    How complex in vitro culture systems including co-cultures, iPS and 3D organotypic models are being used in conjunction with tools such as CRISPR gene editing in the next wave of phenotypic screens. This can encompass novel target discovery, complex co-culture models of neural, skeletal or inflammation systems, and organ models for drug metabolism and toxicity prediction.

  • Session Chair: Fred King, GNF

    Assays that involve complex biological systems or combinations of compounds typically are capable of interrogating only a limited number of samples relative to the potential chemical space. Therefore, the screen design often incorporates compound libraries of a particular focus such as kinase inhibitors or "MoA boxes," where the mechanism of action of each compounds is known. This session will focus on the design, use in screening, and results obtained with such compound/biologic collections.

  • Session Chair: Ann Hoffman, GlaxoSmithKline

    Getting away from 2D on plastic, what approches are being used in drug discovery for 3D and 4D assays?

  • Session Chair: David Piper, Life Technologies

    How is the power of NGS and other genomic platforms being leveraged in HTS. This could be looking at single cell RNA-Seq, cellular barcoding, native gene expression in cells or using DNA encoded libraries.

The following SLAS2018 Short Courses are recommended for those interested in Assay Development and Screening:

In addition, the following SLAS SIGs are recommended for those interested in Assay Development and Screening:

  • Academic Drug Discovery
  • Compound Combination Screening Special Interest Group
  • HCS/HCA Data and Informatics
  • Labware Leachables
  • Sample Management
  • Screen Design and Assay Technology
  • Standards Initiatives
  • Ultra-High-Throughput Screening
  • Women Professionals in Science and Technology


Automation and High-Throughput Technologies Track

Track Chair(s): Taosheng Chen, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Louis Scampavia, Scripps

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:

  • Session Chair: Sam Michael, NIH/NCATS

    This session will focus on the design of automated processes that are made possible by coupling automated 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.

  • Session Chair: Franck Madoux, Amgen

    Approaches using fully automated platform to close the gap on fully automated high content Ultra high throughput screening. Combining microfluidic cell based screening approaches to get one step closer to closed loop automated screening.

  • Session Chair: Shane Horman, GNF

    Leveraging the power of HTS to perform fully automated phenotypic assays, orthogonal target based assays, 3D spheroid systems, etc.

  • Session Chair: Haian Fu, Emory University

    This session will focus on using physiologically-relevant models (e.g., patient-derived organoids, co-cultures, etc.) for screens (genetic or chemical), which might be challenging to be automated. The emphasis will be on the content but not the throughput of the assay.

  • Session Chair: Jason Matzen, GNF

    High throughput automation is formulated as a sum of its sub-components and screening strategies, and has been routinely used to screen large number of small molecules. 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 toward more assays vs. more compounds; applications for fragment-based screens, gene expression, and sample preparations.

  • Session Chair: Louis Scampavia, Scripps

    This session will focus on in-house designed and developed automation to support internal laboratory processes. Emphasis on home grown technology and not vendor supplied or commercially available platforms.

The following SLAS2018 Short Courses are recommended for those interested in Automation and High-Throughput Technologies:

In addition, the following SLAS SIGs are recommended for those interested in Automation and High Throughput Technologies:

  • Automation Quality Control
  • Sample Management
  • Standards Initiatives
  • Technology Transfer and CRO/CMO Project Management
  • Ultra-High-Throughput Screening
  • Women Professionals in Science and Technology


Biologics Discovery Track

Track Chairs: Daniel Sipes, GNF and Rob Howes, AstraZeneca

The success of biologic therapeutics 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. 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 biorepositories. Planned sessions include:

  • Session Chair: Rob Howes, AstraZeneca

    Biologics drug discovery (secreted proteins, antibodies, antibody mimetics) with a focus on screening strategies and assay development for biologics. Case studies of biologics drug discovery. Methods to identify the right epitope. Efficacy and affinity screens.

  • Session Chair: Kevin Chapman, Berkeley Lights

    The past 30 years have seen explosive growth in the discovery, development, and clinical utilization of biologics. For a wide variety of important reasons, both therapeutic and economic, biologics have overtaken small molecules in the race for best overall sales. The future is indeed bright for protein and cellular therapeutics as new and highly imaginative approaches to previously intractable indications. This session will focus on new and exciting technologies for the discovery of biologics—both protein and cellular. A strong emphasis will be placed on technical considerations. What are the physics, fluid dynamics, chemistry, biology, and engineering aspects of the technologies? What advantages are provided? How do they accelerate the discovery of the next generation therapeutics? How do the technologies change the future of therapeutic intervention?

  • Session Chair: Andy Zaayenga, SmarterLab

    Utilization of biospecimens for biomarker discovery provides a pathway to personalized medicine as well as facilitates efficient and potentially more rapid / less costly drug development. Biobanks may be population-based or disease-oriented, with a variety of samples such as organ tissue, blood, urine, enzymes, DNA, RNA and cell lines. This session explores the junction of biobanking and drug discovery with researchers involved in exploiting biospecimen-based new candidate identification.

The following SLAS2018 Short Courses are recommended for those interested in Biologics Discovery:

In addition, the following SLAS SIG is recommended for those interested in Biologics Discovery:

  • Women Professionals in Science and Technology


Cellular Technologies Track

Track Chairs: Benjamin Haley, Genentech and Prashant Mali, University of California, San Diego

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 gene 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:

  • Session Chair: Prashant Mali, University of California, San Diego

    Nature has provided a wealth of systems that can be repurposed to modify nucleic acids and alter gene expression. This session will focus on cutting-edge tools that have enhanced our ability to dissect genomes, at single cell or whole-genome scales.

  • Session Chair: Kristen Brennard, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    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.

  • Session Chair: Benjamin Haley, Genentech

    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 following SLAS2018 Short Courses are recommended for those interested in Cellular Technologies:

In addition, the following SLAS SIGs are recommended for those interested in Cellular Technologies:

  • HCS/HCA Data and Informatics
  • Stem Cells and 3D Microtissues
  • Women Professionals in Science and Technology


Chemical Biology Track

Track Chairs: Jonathan O'Connell, Forma Therapeutics and Gwenn Hansen, Nurix, Inc.

The Chemical Biology track will focus on the challenges of addressing targets with small molecules including validation of targets using tool molecules and proof of target engagement through appropriate biomarker identification. Additionally, this track will cover advances in library design, keeping libraries current and a session will be dedicated to DNA-encoded libraries. Planned sessions include:

  • Session Chair: Stephen Johnson, Bristol-Meyers Squibb

    Addressing Diversity: (1) Library size, how big do libraries need to be (2) Reviving and updating old libraries: Many libraries grew significantly in the early 2000's and have not evolved since. How is the industry tackling this and is it an issue? (3) Focused chemical libraries, including Macrocycles and covalent compounds (4) Fragment libraries: Size of library, defining fragments, examples of success (5) Mechanisms to confirm hits, biophysical methodologies.

  • Session Chair: Gwenn Hansen, Nurix

    Primary focus will be to describe novel applications of DEL for lead discovery. Secondarily, we will explore more practical aspects of the DEL technology that fall into the category of design, synthesis, affinity selection, data analysis or hit confirmation. A detailed breakdown of these practical topics are as follows: (1) Approaches for BB and scaffold selection, library design, designing for truncates, sp2 vs sp3 bias, library size (2) Aqueous reaction development (3) Selecting and identifying hits: statistical analysis, strategies for hit confirmation, translating on DNA hits to off-DNA leads, Managing the data (4) Approaches for monitoring library reaction success (5) Examples of delivering leads using this technology (6) Optimizing affinity selection: considerations for increasing ligand recovery, cov

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