Q: Please give us an overview of SLAS as an organization and how it serves the life sciences sector.
A: SLAS is a community of 18,000 individuals around the world working at the intersection of discovery and technology. Some members of our community work on developing the latest technology for laboratory automation, and the others use this technology for life sciences research, primarily in drug discovery.
Q: Please give us a history of the SLAS annual meetings and what you're looking forward to with the upcoming event.
A: The SLAS International Conference and Exhibition has been our flagship event for over 10 years. This is the event to see what's new in laboratory automation technologies.
We have over 300 companies exhibiting that will be showing off everything from robots to lasers to organs on a chip, as well as software, tools for AI, and cloud computing. We also have nine scientific tracks that cover myriad topics in automation and screening.
We are so looking forward to being in Boston for the first time and being back in person. SLAS 2020 was a roaring success, and we all really miss the energy of the crowd at our events. We have implemented a series of safety protocols for anyone attending the event. You can read about those on our website.Q: Please share some of the highlights attendees can look forward to during the conference (keynotes, special programs, networking events, etc.)
A: We will have our two science-based keynotes, as we always do. Carolyn Bertozzi, PhD, from Stanford University will be our opening keynote speaker. David Walt, PhD, from Harvard Medical School will be our closing keynote speaker.
I am also really excited about our featured keynote speaker, Raven Solomon. Solomon's keynote speech is titled "The Clear Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Life Sciences." She will break down the connection between equity and generations and talk about how understanding this connection can help companies thrive.
This is the first time we have had a presentation on a diversity, equity, and inclusion topic, and I am really looking forward to this, as it is a growing topic in every workplace, including academia and labs. We will also make a very big announcement right before Solomon's presentation, so I hope everyone attends or tunes in.
As always, our Tuesday night party is sponsored by Hamilton. For safety and potential weather-related reasons, we are keeping it at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and transforming our ballroom into four iconic Boston neighborhoods. So we're ready to crank up the dance floor and have some fun too.Q: How can people register and participate in the conference?
A: You can register for both the in-person and virtual event through February 4. We have one-day registration and exhibition-only registration options, as well as full conference registration, plus preconference short courses on Saturday and Sunday for those who want to jump-start their learning.
You can register onsite at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center starting on February 5, but remember that vaccination is required to attend in person. Virtual participation registration will be open through February 9.Q: Anything else you would like the ScienceBoard audience to know?
A: We are hyped and ready to roll! We are expecting over 4,000 people to join us in Boston, and we hope -- if you are reading this and you have not registered yet -- you do so now.
We also understand not everyone can be in person. The SLAS team has worked tirelessly to provide virtual participants, including presenters, with as valuable an experience as those who are attending in person.
And, don't forget, our European Conference is May 24-27 in Dublin. Registration and abstract submission are now open for that event!