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Be Proactive and Positive

By Emilio Diez Monedero, Ph.D.

Pandemic overload or COVID-19 fatigue – you hear about it in the news and you feel it personally as you navigate changes in your own life with uncertainty about when it will end. It’s very real. I think that maybe the best way to deal with this heaviness is to focus on being proactive in helping reach solutions and to look to the many positives.

For those of us in life sciences discovery and technology, there is much we can and are doing. The company and individual names connected with the latest news on vaccines, therapeutics, statistics are often the same names we recognize from our journals and our conferences. Our community is contributing to the solutions, and our ability to do so rewards us and helps keep us moving forward.

SLAS also is moving forward, and I’m proud of the can-do attitude and positive approach our board, committees and professional team put forth every day. SLAS, like all professional societies with an educational mission, primarily uses events to deliver benefits to its members. The Society has worked very hard to offer alternatives for learning and connection. Online learning is a given these days, and SLAS has grown its library to better serve the SLAS community. You can see and benefit from these resources available to you by checking out the numerous past presentations and also future webinars on very specific and important topics for our community on SLAS APPLIED.

Note: APPLIED experienced technical difficulties and downtime in August. APPLIED content is now back online for webinar registration and on-demand viewing. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Also, as an example, SLAS moved quickly to build a new educational event to provide scientific research presentations, live exhibitor presentations and one-on-one networking including participation incentives for attendees. SLAS Transformed was held live in June, and the scientific presentations now are available on SLAS APPLIED. Transformed vendor presentations are now part of Solutions Spotlight+ collection, also on APPLIED. The organizing team – Sammy Datwani, Ph.D., consultant, SLAS Board member; Zack Gurard-Levin, Ph.D., SAMDI Tech Inc.; Ira Hoffman, CEO, High-Res Biosolutions, SLAS Board member; and Ash Jogalekar, Ph.D., Strateos – deserve our thanks for their amazing efforts.

Now we are scaling up again – with a more robust platform – to make the SLAS 2021 International Conference and Exhibition fully virtual. SLAS2021 Digital, January 25-27, 2021, will be a great event with fantastic science and added opportunities for our vendors to share their knowledge, their technologies and their support of the life sciences community online. Remember: SLAS2021 Digital is free to SLAS premier members! If you are currently a basic member (no dues paid) – join now to obtain this amazing benefit and get access to everything SLAS offers for the rest of 2021.

Yes, there have been cancelations or postponements when the event teams and board of directors have weighed the options and decided this was the best course of action. Even though we have many experts working on the current pandemic, we don’t have a crystal ball. As we’ve already announced, the 2020 SLAS Europe Conference and Exhibition was postponed to June 22-25, 2021 and we are planning for it to be a hybrid event with in-person and virtual components. Also, the SLAS 2020 Building Biology in 3D Symposium, originally scheduled for November 2020 in Florida, will be held later in 2021. Finally, we encourage those who were planning to attend the SLAS 2020 AI Meets Sample Management Symposium this November to set their sights on the 2021 European Sample Management Symposium, scheduled for April 26-27 in Berlin.

Need another positive? There are eight content-rich webinars planned through October, including a three-part series in September focused on cancer research starting September 10 with Redefining Pre-Clinical Testing in Oncology: Why We Need to Go 3D with Marina Similan, Ph.D., of the Instituto de Nanosistemas, Universidad Nacional de San Martin. Another webinar (postponed from August 27) is Compound-Mediated Interferences in Homogenous Proximity Assays on September 25. This presentation features Jayme L. Dahlin, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Again, login to SLAS APPLIED to register and gain access to these opportunities.

Still need more examples of SLAS resilience? In a recent episode of SLAS New Matter, SLAS CEO Vicki Loise talks about all the ways SLAS has and will be providing solid and meaningful education to its audience. She mentions online workshops (adjusted versions of short courses), virtual member meet-ups (where colleagues can hold conversations) and SLAS Roadshows (where SLAS provides presentation resources to your events) as new ways SLAS will deliver information to its members in safe and effective ways in 2021. Loise also assured listeners that SLAS is on firm financial footing.

Finally, when looking at where we are headed, it is beneficial to look at where we’ve been. SLAS is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and we’ve loaded a brief history on the website. To come: the top 10 journal articles from SLAS Discovery and SLAS Technology too. Take a look today, and be proud of your Society! I am.

Stay tuned to SLAS channels and remain safe!!

August 28, 2020