Newswise — Vienna, Austria (VIRTUAL) – A variety of scientific discovery and technology awards were presented during SLAS Europe 2021 Digital Conference and Exhibition, which took place June 23-25 online. The annual European forum of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening bestowed the Ignite Award to the most promising new startup company, the New Product Award, SLAS Tony B. Academic Awards and Student Poster Awards.
Hopstem Biotechnology Co., Ltd. has been selected as the SLAS Europe 2021 Ignite Award winner. Hopstem was founded in January 2017 by Jing Fan, a neuroscientist and stem cell biologist from Johns Hopkins University (Boston, MA, USA). Hopstem’s technology and service revolve around its novel 3D brain organoid product for high-throughput calcium imaging. It is derived from a stable human iPSC line, which is a new way to screen, validate and de-risk the lead compound/molecules at the early stage of drug development for central nervous system diseases, with established targets involved in neuronal activity phenotypes. Hopstem has received four rounds of financing totaling more than 20 million Euro and established a research and development and manufacturing facility in Hangzhou, China, with a sales department in Houston, Texas, USA. As the SLAS Ignite Award winner, Hopstem receives a $5,000 cash prize, an opportunity to speak at SLAS2022 International Conference and Exhibition in Boston, and will record an SLAS New Matter podcast episode to discuss its products and services.
Denmark-based Reshape Biotech won the SLAS New Product Award for its Reshape Imaging System, an automated robotic solution that remotely monitors plates in incubators, while automatically creating time-lapse videos for high-throughput. “Their product is quite unique and ahead of the competition,” the SLAS judging panel commented, citing their automatic generation of time-lapse videos and remote monitoring, as well as the system’s high capacity, flexible integration and cost-effectiveness.” The Reshape Imaging System can also monitor growth of microorganisms in the incubator with no additional effort. The New Product Award is given to companies showcasing a new product that is commercially available within 90 days pre- and/or post-conference.
Three students were recognized with this year’s Student Poster Award. Winners were evaluated online and were judged on various content and design themes as well as presentation. The SLAS Student Poster Award recognizes the innovative research by students, graduate students, post-doctoral associates and junior faculty (less than four years in first academic appointment) who are chosen to present a poster during the conference.
- Lillie Bell, Undergraduate Industrial Placement Student, AstraZeneca, Cheshire, England, UK
- Poster: Elucidation and Characterisation of High-Throughput Degrader Screening Outputs
- Winston Chiu, Caps-It Expert Operator, PhD student; KU Leuven (Rega Institute) – Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation – Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy, Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
- Poster: Caps-It System Facilitates Screening of 1.5 Million Molecules Identifying 6500 Inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Replication
- Stephan Spangenberg, Graduate Student, The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, Calif., USA
Finally, SLAS provided three SLAS Tony B. Academic (Travel) Awards to students, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty chosen for their original scientific research. Applicants’ submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges on the relevance of the research to the conference program, statement of value of the conference and overall scientific merit. Each winner had a chance to present their research at the meeting and received complimentary conference registration and, when the conference is held in person, Tony B. Award recipients receive roundtrip travel and shared hotel accommodations.
- Winston Chiu, M.Sc., Rega Institute, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy (KU Leuven, Belgium)
- Andrea Coluccio, Ph.D., Fraunhofer ITEM – Germany
- Mario Graeve, M.Sc., Fraunhofer IPA – Germany
SLAS Europe Conference and Exhibition
The SLAS Europe 2021 program showcases four important tracks focused on emerging biology, technology, discovery and careers in business and technology that elucidate scientific advances and state-of-the-art applications of new technologies through scientific podium and poster presentations, exhibitor tutorials, special interest group discussions and inspiring keynote speakers. The 2021 conference was conducted online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Careers in Business and Technology Track was conducted as a free standalone online event on June 16. For more information about SLAS and its educational events, visit www.slas.org/events.
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SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening) is an international community of more than 16,000 researchers and technology providers dedicated to life sciences discovery and technology. The SLAS mission is to bring together researchers in academia, industry and government to advance life sciences discovery and technology via education, knowledge exchange and global community building.
SLAS publishes two MEDLINE-indexed scientific journals, SLAS Discovery and SLAS Technology. For more information about SLAS and its journals, visit www.slas.org.