Taking the Off-Beat Program Path at SLAS2014!

Dec 02, 2013

The Lab Man has once again assembled his list of must-see presentations for SLAS2014 next month in San Diego, CA.  To clarify, this is a list of five presentations that The Lab Man is most curious to attend because they appear to be very interesting or off-beat, not because of who is presenting or the nature of the science.  Here we go…

Lee Cronin, University of Glasgow; Programmable Synthesis and Integrated Chemical Discovery Enabled by 3D-Printed Reactionware. Making one’s own synthesis vessels with a 3-D printer reminded The Lab Man of when he got a Mattel device to “cook” his own toy army men.  Visions of creating an army faded when it became apparent that it took 30 minutes/soldier plus lots of expensive Plasti-Goop!  How practical is it to print labware?  I don’t know, but even having the option to do so is quite intriguing as it opens many possibilities of custom features and capabilities.  Cronin’s ideas about self-assembly and self-growing go far beyond just reactionware.   

Mike Berke, Amgen; FISHLiPS: A Case Study in Automating a Third-Party Analytical Device.  What a great presentation name!  If you’re wondering, FISHLiPS is a Fully Integrated System for HIAC Liquid Particle Sampling system designed, fabricated and assembled by the Amgen Therapeutic Discovery Automation department to automate the sample handling and control of a HIAC 9703+ particle counter.  If you want to see a good talk about the pleasure and peril of custom automation development, attend this one! 

Jason Rolland, Diagnostics For All; Paper-based Sensors for Low-cost Diagnostics.  Diagnostics For All is a non-profit enterprise saving lives through the creation of low-cost, easy-to-use, point-of-care diagnostic devices designed specifically for the developing world.  Necessity is the mother of invention, and trying to bring sophisticated measurement techniques to the third world certainly activates creativity!  See how they’ve created microfluidic devices from layers of patterned paper and think about that the next time you pay $30K for a similar device. 

Vadik V. Marmeladov, Lapka, Inc.; Medical Device as an Object of Desire.  This one is for all the people who wait in line for the latest edition of electronic devices.  Smartphones are really mobile computing devices that happen to have a telephone function, but creative people are harnessing that mobile processing power to create innovative and relatively inexpensive scientific tools.  Imagine if you’d had the opportunity to hear Wilbur Wright talk about innovative uses for lightweight internal combustion engines 100 years ago? 

Sabrina Corazza, Axxam; A Bright Future: Where Optogenetics Meets with Voltage Gated Ion Channels.  Is this related to Star Trek Voyager bio-neural gel packs?  No, but it’s almost as cool.  This presentation is about using blue light to activate the ChR2 cation channel to control plasma membrane potential for running ion channel assays.  Be sure to bring a blue laser pen to the presentation. 

Ok, I said five, but this one is too good to pass on.

James Chen, Stanford University:  I Only Have Eye for Ewe: Small-molecule Modulators of the Hedgehog Pathway. This professor apparently has a thing for Hedgehog – the signaling pathway, that is.  Come hear about the transmembrane protein Smo and the Gli transcription factor.  

See you in sunny San Diego!

Until Next Time,

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!


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