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From the SLAS President: Refreshed for Success — The 2017-2021 SLAS Strategic Plan
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"SLAS is embarking on an ambitious future, and SLAS2017 proved to be an energetic starting point," says SLAS President Scott Atkin in the SLAS Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood e-zine. Atkin elaborates on the new strategic plan announced in Washington, DC, and invites member input.

"The 2017-2021 SLAS Strategic Plan is rooted in SLAS's unique position at the intersection of basic and applied life sciences discovery and technology. With this as our focus, the refreshed SLAS mission (purpose) and vision (what we aspire to achieve) define how we want to be recognized by our membership."

The plan sets forth important short- and long-term priorities, actionable objectives, milestones and metrics organized within three fundamental pillars — Education, Community and Sustainability.
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New in SLAS Discovery: Biologically Relevant Heterogeneity — Metrics and Practical Insights
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A new perspective paper in the March 2017 issue of SLAS Discovery shares insight on the critical importance of identifying and quantifying biologically relevant heterogeneity in biomedical applications, including basic biomedical research, drug discovery, diagnostics and the implementation of precision medicine.

The perspective focuses on heterogeneity in populations of cells in vitro and in tissue sections, but the principles apply to all scales from populations of molecules to patients. The paper is a collaborative effort of the University of Pittsburgh and Eli Lilly and Company.
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SLAS2018: Benjamin F. Cravatt Named Opening Keynote Speaker
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Cravatt is a professor and co-chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. The Cravatt Lab focuses on the roles that mammalian enzymes play in physiological and pathological processes and uses this knowledge to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of human disease.

They develop and apply new technologies that bridge the fields of chemistry and biology, ascribing to the philosophy that the most significant biomedical problems require creative multidisciplinary approaches for their solution. Their technological innovations address fundamental challenges in systems biology that are beyond the scope of contemporary methods. Cravatt's SLAS2018 address takes place Monday morning, Feb. 5, 2018.
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SLAS Journals Invite Special Collection Proposals
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SLAS Discovery and SLAS Technology invite proposals from interested guest editors for collections of five to seven original scientific reports that collectively explore the different dimensions, recent achievements and existing challenges related to a timely topic of interest and importance to SLAS journal readers. Special collections published recently include: Learn about how you can contribute as guest editor and work closely with the journal editor-in-chief. More


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Free Access Through April 30: Seven SLAS2017 Presentations
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Relive the SLAS2017 scientific program and/or view presentations you may have missed while in Washington, DC, through these on-demand webinars (audio and presentation slide synch). These presentations are available free-of-charge to SLAS members and non-members alike through the end of April:

Case-Study in Consortium-Based Drug Discovery: Allosteric Inhibition of the AAA ATPase p97
Michelle Arkin, University of California, San Francisco

Precision Immunology Through Deeper, Single Cell Profiling
Pratip Chattopadhya, NIH

HTS Tumor: Stroma Co-Culture Spheroid Platform Reveals CAF-Specific Chemotherapeutic Targets
Shane Horman, Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation

Emerging Fluorescence Technology to Study the Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Organelles within Cells
Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus

Droplet Microfluidic 3D Tumor Models for Cancer Screening
Pooja Sabhachandani, Northeastern University

Vortex Biosciences Technology for Fast and Label-Free Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells from Blood Samples
Elodie Sollier-Christen, Vortex Biosciences, Inc. (2017 SLAS Innovation Award Winner pictured here)

High-Throughput Acoustic Mass Spectrometry: Development and Delivery of a Biochemical Screen
Jonathan Wingfield, AstraZeneca
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Safe and Ethical Ways to Edit the Human Genome
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The National Academies of Science and Medicine released a report exploring the implications of new technologies that can alter the genome of living organisms, including humans. Although scientists have been able to edit genes for several decades, new genome editing technologies are more efficient, more precise and far less expensive than previous ones. One of these techniques, known as CRISPR-Cas9, could allow for new applications ranging from editing viruses and bacteria to animals, plants and human beings. More


Powerful RNA-based Technology Could Help Shape the Future of Therapeutic Antibodies
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Using antibodies to treat disease has been one of the great success stories of early 21st-century medicine. Already five of the 10 top-selling pharmaceuticals in the United States are antibody products. But antibodies are large, complex proteins that can be expensive to manufacture. Now, a team led by scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates in an animal model a new way to deliver safer and more cost-effective therapeutic antibodies. More




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CRISPETa Software Developed to Efficiently Delete Noncoding DNA Regions
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Scientists at the Computational Biology of RNA Processing laboratory of the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain recently created a tool based on CRISPR/Cas9 called DECKO, which can be used to delete any desired piece of noncoding DNA. CRISPR/Cas9 is composed of two components: a molecular barcode, called single guide RNA (sgRNA), which is designed by researchers to recognize one precise location in the genome, and the Cas9 protein, which binds to a structured loop in the sgRNA. More


The Orbital Selection Rule for Molecular Conductance as Manifested in Tetraphenyl-Based Molecular Junctions
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Using two tetraphenylbenzene isomers differing only by the anchoring points to the gold electrodes, we investigate the influence of quantum interference on the single molecule charge transport. The distinct anchor points are realized by selective halogen-mediated binding to the electrodes by formation of surface-stabilized isomers after iodine cleavage. Both isomers are essentially chemically identical and only weakly perturbed by the electrodes avoiding largely parasitic effects, which allows us to focus solely on the relation between quantum interference and the intrinsic molecular properties. More


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Analyzing DNA Nanotechnology: A Call to Arms For The Analytical Chemistry Community
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In order to fully realize the potential of DNA nanotechnology, it is crucial to overcome the lack of robust analytical techniques that continue to hinder the purification and characterization of DNA-based structures. In this Feature, we provide a snapshot of the current state of metrological techniques in DNA nanotechnology and look forward to emerging technologies that may offer new ways to probe and visualize these complex structures. More


Flow Process Speeds Peptide Synthesis
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Nature makes amide bonds — the key linkages that string together amino acids in a polypeptide — like a knitting whiz. The ribosome in Escherichia coli bacteria, for example, can make eight amide bonds in a second. Chemists are novices by comparison, taking minutes to hours to form an amide bond in a flask. These scientists are stepping it up, though; a group led by Bradley L. Pentelute of MIT has developed a fully automated flow approach to solid-phase peptide synthesis that can make an amide bond in seven seconds and assemble a peptide at a rate of 40 seconds per amino acid. More




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Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells
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Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles. The cell interior is densely crowded with hundreds of thousands of macromolecules. More


New Materials Could Turn Water Into the Fuel of the Future
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Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology have — in just two years — nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels. They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable generation of solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. More




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