‘Given the global economic conditions, we’re very pleased to say that this year’s conference and exhibition remained robust,’ said Erik Rubin PhD, President of the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA), which organised the event. ‘The energy on the floor was outstanding, the sessions and special events well-attended and the overall mood was very upbeat. I think much of the success can be attributed to ALA’s efforts to be proactive in addressing the economy and offering programmes, such as the Take Off With ALA flight discount programme, designed to help alleviate the financial burden on participants.’ (ALA also awarded 39 travel grants to students and post-docs who authored posters or podium presentations).
100 educational presentations were made, and 18 short courses held. There were also 186 poster presentations, 17 industry-sponsored workshops and the special session Celebrate and Reunite with Five Years of Award-Winning Innovation.
Plenary sessions - Speakers included Klavs F Jensen PhD; Warren K Lewis, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; John Abele, Lab Automation pioneer and co-founder of Boston Scientific, and scientist Jeffrey Wigand PhD, said to be the inspiration behind actor Russell Crowe’s character in ‘The Insider’. Conference Chair R. Scott Martin, PhD, of Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, said: ‘The overwhelmingly positive feedback is extremely gratifying to ALA, and especially the members of the LabAutomation Scientific Committee who worked very hard to pull together another meaningful conference.’
Exhibitions - The 425-booth exhibit floor showcased technologies from 250 companies, including 45 first-time LabAutomation exhibitors. Twenty-five new products were also launched.
“LabAutomation2009 was a surprise given the economy,” stated Hansjörg Haas, Ph.D., Director Marketing and Integrated Systems, Laboratory Automation Scientific Instrument Division, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “I have spoken with other vendors who have said that it has been a positive experience – the floor looked busy, traffic was constant, and quality of leads seemed good. From a vendor perspective, LabAutomation makes you realize how much this community has grown – you’re a competitor one day, a partner the next. To some degree we are all integrated and that triggers both collaboration and mutual respect.’
Young inspiration - Eight highly innovative young companies were invited to participate as guest exhibitors on Innovation AveNEW, an ALA programme designed to assist creative and collaborative technology development. They were:
• Boreal Genomics, British Columbia, Canada
• Cynvenio Biosystems, LLC, Santa Barbara, California
• Lyncée Tec SA, Lausanne, Switzerland
• m2p-labs, Aachen, Germany
• Resonant Sensors Incorporated, Arlington, Texas
• SONOPLOT, Inc, Middleton, WI, USA
• SparkLix Bio-computing, Beit-Yanai, Israel
• Ziath, Ltd, Dresden, Germany.
The New Product Award (NPA) Designation competition recognizes the best of what’s new in the exhibition hall. Winners:
• Agilent Technologies – Agilent Direct Drive Robot
• GeneFluidics – Proteus Robotic System
• Mettler Toledo - Quantos QB1
LabAutomation2010 will be held in Palm Springs, 23-27 January 2010.