Innovation at SLAS 2019

The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) strives to advance scientific discovery by connecting a global community of life science professionals from industry, academia and government bodies.

laboratory robot handling a sampleBork | Shutterstock

SLAS 2019 will showcase the latest life sciences technologies and their applications in scientific research. With a focus on automation, this year’s event will highlight how research and development can be greatly improved and streamlined with innovation in technologies from the laboratory bench itself.

SLAS 2019 will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre between 2-6th February, with exhibitions, talks, networking opportunities, and demonstrations taking place with over 300 companies and representatives. Those attending SLAS 2019 will benefit from the opportunity to see the latest technologies, build networks with peers to enhance their area of research, and investigate educational opportunities and boost career development.

This article highlights some of the innovative companies that are exhibiting at SLAS 2019, who will be sharing their latest products, research, and design innovations.

Improving the efficiency of genomics research

For TTP Labtech, automation is key in improving efficiency, lowering costs, and advancing research in drug discovery, sample management and genomics.

TTP Labtech’s High Throughput Biology Laboratory (HTB) is a self-sustaining laboratory in the NYU research community that is available on a fee-for-service basis, and delivers support for internal and external investigators in the development of optimization, screening, and imaging of high throughput, high content assays.

Central to the HTB is the Arktic freezer system. This system offers the flexibility to quickly produce customized library formats and reduced thermal cycling to maintain reagent quality. It also reduces disposable labware consumption. Another benefit of the HTB is seen in the opportunities it provides for investigators with varying budgets to benefit from the affordable system, with its enhanced operational efficiency and flexibility.

Booth number: 313

Session time: 2:00PM - 2:45PM. Room 143B.

Innovation and automation in high-throughput assay development

Understanding drug efficacy and a drug’s clinical validity through target engagement at the site of action is fundamental in achieving better clinical success. Measurements can currently be taken using purified protein and assay technologies, but target engagement in a cellular environment isn’t always achievable.

Senior research scientist Nancy Dekki Shalaly will be demonstrating how to build and validate assays with the Cellular Thermal Shift Assay (CETSA) method from Pelago Bioscience. Transformations in protein thermal stability inside intracellular environments can be investigated with CETSA, using the AlphaLISA protein detection platform.

Additionally, CETSA HT for large screening volumes proves able to correlate well with other screening technology, and the spectrum of application throughout drug discovery, but in particular in early drug discovery investigations, is wide due to the technology’s ability to perform in high-throughput microplate-based formats.

Booth number: 312

Session time: 4:30PM – 4:50PM. Exhibition Theater.

CETSA® - What, Why and When in One Minute

Efficiency in sample selection and handling

Ziath develops innovative new technology to increase efficiency across academia, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Their expertise spans lab automation in forensics, sample management, documentation and archiving, and sample management.

Ziath endeavor to free up more time for investigation and research by reducing the amount of time scientists take to identify, manage and locate precious samples. Ziath will be showcasing the Mohawk, a sample selection device designed to accelerate research by giving time back to the researcher.

The Mohawk is a new, intuitive tube selector and picker that operates with a linear rack reader and 96 pins. User-friendly software powers the system instead of more time-consuming robotics systems, and tubes can be raised while racks are scanned according to pre-set picklists, allowing tubes to be selected in seconds.

This device also works to minimize freeze-thaw cycles through its rapid reading and selection processes, better preserving samples and improving research conditions.

Booth number: 452

Introducing the Ziath Mohawk Semi-Automated Tube Picker

Microplate manipulation and handling

Peak Analysis & Automation (PAA) is a leader in lab automation. With 30 years in the field, PAA will be showcasing their selection of innovative automation solutions, including a contender in the SLAS 2019 New Product Award.

The focus of PAA’s showcase is on their automated plate handler S-LAB. A budget-friendly and space-saving plate handling system, S-LAB not only saves professionals time and precious laboratory space, it also boasts the same reliability of robotic arms.

Keeping user-friendly operation at its core, S-LAB can be run from a PC or tablet, used with around 300 other laboratory instruments, and can be controlled with PAA’s Harmony automation control software.

The S-LAB plate handler is also able to handle lidded microplates in sterile cell-based assays, as well as plate washers, bulk reagent dispensers, and plate readers. PAA’s S-LAB showcase will include the S-LAB loading and unloading a Thermo Multidrop, highlighting the product’s reliable and efficient operation.

PAA will also be exhibiting their S-CEL Robotic Systems, which provide reliable solutions for rapid assay scalability. From simple benchtop automation to complex cell-based science, S-CEL streamlines equipment and throughput and reduces the need for specialized knowledge to operate the system.

Safety is paramount with the S-CEL, and the systems exceed Biosafety Level 2 and uphold sterility and assay protection through a laminar airflow. At the PAA booth, visitors can learn more about the systems and get advice on solutions tailored to their individual application needs, as well as general advice on automation.

Booth number: 1429

Microfluidics and microtechnologies

Microfluidics and microtechnologies are an emerging and expanding field. At SLAS 2019, Sumita Pennathur of UCSB will chair a presentation entitled “Recent Development in Microfluidics and Microtechnologies for Applications in Life Science Research, in vitro Diagnostics and Medical Devices” which will offer insight into the roles of these technologies within scientific research and healthcare.

The presentation will offer case studies of developing industrial solutions and technological advancements, and explain what impacts these technologies could have on genomics, point-of-care diagnostics, organ-on-a-chip and cell culturing.

Micronit, who develop a number of Organ-on-a-chip technologies are just one of the companies that will be featured in the presentation. These products are made especially for researchers in advanced biomedical engineering, bioMEMS, microfabrication and micro-electronics.

The Organ-on-a-chip range is resealable and can be completed with single or multiple chip holders and pumps. Additionally, the devices are made up of a top and bottom layer with a membrane layer that is available in a number of varieties.

Micronit technologies offer precise and constant control during culturing processes, which is a huge advancement on static cultural methods using petri dishes and microplates. The users’ individual needs can also be taken into account, meaning integrated solutions can be created according to custom requirements.

Booth number: 1505

Improve and speed up your microfluidics and MEMS development work today!


Automation remains at the core of SLAS, which celebrates life sciences technological innovation. From saving space, time, and money for professionals across industries and research areas, the development and improvement of automated systems is a key component in improving research and accelerating investigations, development, and discovery.

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Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 11, 2024

Lois Zoppi

Written by

Lois Zoppi

Lois is a freelance copywriter based in the UK. She graduated from the University of Sussex with a BA in Media Practice, having specialized in screenwriting. She maintains a focus on anxiety disorders and depression and aims to explore other areas of mental health including dissociative disorders such as maladaptive daydreaming.


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