Many people see target-based drug discovery and the phenotypic approach to drug discovery as antagonistic but Fabien Vincent, associate research fellow in the department of Hit Discovery and Lead Profiling at Pfizer, sees them as complementary. This is the message he hopes to convey during the SLAS2017 session “Uniting Phenotypic and Target-based Drug Discovery,” part of the Drug Target Strategies Track.
As my year as SLAS president draws to a close, it is with pride and appreciation that I reflect on the achievements of the past year. SLAS made remarkable progress in 2016 thanks to many energized and forward-thinking members of our life sciences discovery and technology community. From the members of the SLAS Board of Directors, to the many committees and the whole professional team, SLAS is driven by individuals who selflessly invest time and talent to the benefit of our community today and well into tomorrow. This strong level of involvement was evident in the very successful SLAS2016 in San Diego and the many new initiatives that were put in motion throughout the year.
“The dark genome represents the set of genes and their corresponding proteins that remain unstudied or understudied. Given that target validation is a critical bottleneck in the discovery of new therapeutics, illumination of the dark genome could identify druggable targets relevant to diseases,” says Rajarshi Guha, research scientist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and chair of the SLAS2017 Informatics Session on Let There Be Light: Informatics Approaches to Exploring the Dark Genome.
Captivated by informatics and analytics, this biochemist-turned-IT-guy shaped his career around digging information out of the facts and figures generated in the laboratory. He describes his journey as a progression from one interesting problem to the next.
Pursuing your life’s work requires being employed in a position that’s well suited to your knowledge, experience, interests and goals. Many of the people featured in the SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood e-zine (which you’re reading right now) comment that their interests in research were rooted in a loved one’s illness or other personal experience, accompanied by a desire for lifelong learning.
“Could I have found this compound faster, cheaper or easier by an alternative strategy?” This is a question anyone involved in running a screening campaign should ask themselves, says Ed Ainscow, head of discovery at Carrick Therapeutics and chair of the SLAS2017 Rational Screen Design Session in the Assay Development and Screening Track.
This question has been posed since drug discovery began, and the advent of high-throughput screening made it a more pressing question.
The world of drug discovery continues to evolve with changes in the availability of analytical tools and reagents and new strategies leveraged to pursue molecular targets previously considered to be undruggable. This is especially true in oncology where there are large numbers of challenging molecular targets identified but not yet exploited for pharmacological intervention.
Magic. It can happen when people with curious minds gather to digest and dissect a rapidly changing and highly productive field of life sciences discovery and technology. Magic happened in Dresden, Germany, in June of 2016.
She wants it all: a speedy diagnosis and treatment for rare, genetically inherited diseases, connection and collaboration for researchers to make this happen and time to pursue absorbing work in industry and academics. A carefully calculated balancing act throughout her career is making it all possible, at the same time.
The Society recently invited a select group of members from around the world to become the first class of SLAS Fellow Members. This distinguished new membership category is an earned honor that celebrates all those who have made important leadership contributions to our Society since it was founded in 2010. Together, we will celebrate the inaugural class of SLAS Fellow Members when they are introduced at SLAS2017 in Washington, DC, this coming February.
A 300-year history of scientific discovery emerges in SLAS2017 Keynote Presenter Rachel Swaby’s 2015 book, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World. Sharing tenacity, perseverance and creativity, these scientists challenged obstacles and advanced knowledge in the fields of medicine, biology, genetics, physics and more.
As SLAS president, I talk with many people from different backgrounds about our Society and the value of membership. I’m always surprised by the number of people who are unaware of the wealth of knowledge that’s available at their fingertips through SLAS.
For life sciences discovery and technology professionals, working with 3D culture has numerous advantages, including emulation of the in vivo environment; high cell yields from less laboratory space; and a significant reduction in costs of labor and consumables.
Wouldn’t it be great to turn on the lights and discover right-sized, perfect throughput, custom-designed instruments in your own lab? The latest benchtop automation devices, using space-saving components and open source software, offer endless possibilities for small and mid-sized labs to increase throughput while decreasing costs.
In the past, laboratories used a glass blower and an in-house machine shop to churn out customized parts needed for experiments. Then, 3D printers arrived with an on-demand supply of wares made of everything from plastics and metals to wax and living tissue. Now, open source platforms put the real power of 3D printing into the hands of life sciences discovery and technology professionals. A new JALA Special Collection reveals how easy it can be to incorporate this technology into your research.
In 2017, SLAS’s two scientific journals will begin their 22nd year of publication with new names and taglines! The journal we’ve known as the Journal of Biomolecular Screening (JBS) will become SLAS DiscoveryTM (Advancing Life Sciences R&D); and the journal we’ve known as the Journal of Laboratory Automation (JALA) will become SLAS TechnologyTM (Translating Life Sciences Innovation).
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Similarly, if an innovator has a good idea but no means of spreading the word, can the idea move forward to successful implementation? The SLAS Innovation AveNEW program gives life sciences discovery and technology start-up companies a forum to put their good ideas in front of the global community for collaborative interaction and exposure – and a fighting chance for success in the marketplace.
Meet the first SLAS Graduate Education Fellowship Grant recipient: A keen collaborator who wants practical, yet complicated, science – such as microfluidics – to be more user-friendly. An engaging educator who helps high school students find the joy of discovery. A tireless innovator whose pursuits in high-throughput screening will benefit from the generous funding of the SLAS grant.
It has been five years since the SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood (SLAS ELN) e-zine began bringing to life the people behind the science and technology that drive the SLAS life sciences community forward. The SLAS ELN is the place to learn more about like-minded colleagues and their personal and professional achievements.
New treatments for central nervous system (CNS) disorders are urgently needed, yet many companies have scaled back their work in this area, citing “high costs, lengthy development times and low success rates,” according to an editorial in a new Journal of Biomolecular Screening (JBS) Special Issue on Innovative Screening Methodologies to Identify New Compounds for the Treatment of Central Nervous System Disorders. Novel screening approaches could help turn the tide.