ELRIG hosts its flagship Drug Discovery conference each year, bringing together the whole drug discovery community to share the latest discoveries, foster collaborations, and drive innovations. Academics at all career stages are encouraged to attend and form a large proportion of the delegates, along with a strong contingent from the biopharmaceutical industry. So, as an academic, what exactly can you expect from this year’s Drug Discovery 2017 – and why should you attend?
To get some insights from someone on the inside, we spoke to a past Drug Discovery speaker and academic turned industry researcher, Dr David Brierley of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Following his PhD in Neurology and two postdocs on phenotypic drug discovery in oncology, Dr Brierley joined GSK in 2014 as a senior cell biologist. He now leads a team of bioscientists to support assay development, compound profiling, and mechanism of action studies, during the target to candidate phase of drug discovery.
Read on to find out from Dr Brierley why Drug Discovery 2017 is a unique opportunity to step outside the typical academic setting and drive your research forward.
Access cutting-edge, top-quality science – for free!
At Drug Discovery 2017, there will be 50 world-class speakers from a range of disciplines, and from both academic and industry backgrounds, discussing pertinent topics and ideas for future research. This will give you a unique opportunity to get inspiration from thought-leaders with a variety of capabilities and viewpoints that you would rarely, if ever, come across in your own academic field.
Some examples of these top-quality presentations include: “Transforming R&D productivity; How can we better turn science into medicine” (Dr Menelas Pangalos); “Molecular imaging of cancer in the future: Monitoring treatment response by imaging oncogenic rewiring and immune microenvironment changes, through combining whole body imaging with tissue/exosome-based approaches” (Professor Tony Ng); and “Mechanism-based pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics in translational drug research” (Professor Meindert Danhof).
And perhaps best of all, registration at Drug Discovery 2017 is completely free, so learning about such important topics from key opinion leaders won’t deplete your research grant. Instead, you could invest what you save into enhancing your future research with the new knowledge you gain!
Importantly, many presentations at Drug Discovery feature cutting-edge discoveries that aren’t just hot off the press, but also haven’t even been published yet.
Dr Brierley himself presented unpublished, novel data at last year’s Drug Discovery meeting from one of his ongoing programs within GSK at the time, in a talk entitled, “Identifying small molecule agonists of macrophage phagocytosis using a high content phenotypic imaging-based approach” in the Assay Development, Screening and Emerging Technologies session track.
“When I attended Drug Discovery 2016, I was impressed by how many presentations featured ongoing work utilizing modern technologies and advanced cellular systems, which my academic peers were often unaware of,” Dr Brierley recalls.
Tap into diverse knowledge to drive your research forward
Meetings like Drug Discovery offer a unique opportunity to learn about innovations, technologies, and methodologies that you may never come across in the academic environment. The upcoming Drug Discovery 2017 meeting will include six different session tracks, such as Drug Discovery in the 4th Dimension, Innovations in Chemistry, and Advances in Imaging, covering a diverse range of scientific content. As such, this is an unmissable event for academics working across the entire biological research spectrum and who are looking for inspiration outside their usual research area.
“Drug Discovery 2017 will provide academics with opportunities to view emerging trends across multiple fields of drug discovery that no academic conference covers,” remarks Dr Brierley. “It will give a great oversight of diverse aspects of the drug discovery process and will allow academics to question if their research may impact different areas.”
Further enhancing the diversity of Drug Discovery 2017 will be the hundreds of delegates and vendors representing all sectors of the drug discovery community: 41% from biopharma, 32% from academia, and 27% from other domains, including recruitment companies, publisher/media relations, government agencies and investment firms. This will give you a rare chance to tap into a wide variety of expertise and backgrounds to offer new insights and discuss alternative research approaches.
“The diversity of delegates really does drive thought-provoking conversations, giving academics a chance to receive feedback on their research from a multitude of people coming at their work from differing angles,” Dr Brierley adds. “Some of the discussions I had with delegates and vendors after giving my presentation at Drug Discovery 2016 were very useful in solidifying ideas and offering insights into potential alternate avenues and technologies my team and I could explore.”
Make new connections and identify future opportunities
Collaboration is a key part of successful drug discovery research. A growing synergy among different sectors of the community has helped to drive a variety of exciting innovations and the translation of research into new medicines over the last decade. Meetings like Drug Discovery 2017 can provide a rare setting in which to initiate collaborations with experts in different sectors to enhance the success of your research.
As Dr Brierley remarks, “There are excellent opportunities to network at Drug Discovery meetings. From personal experience, I met and spoke with multiple differing vendors regarding opportunities to innovate and collaborate, such as DiscoverX, IntelliCyt, and TTP Labtech, to name a few.”
Drug Discovery 2017 is also an ideal backdrop in which to explore how your research could be successfully translated into new medicines to alleviate the suffering of many patients. Not only will a lot of the presentations be aligned with translational research, but connecting with delegates and vendors from the pharmaceutical industry could help you to identify opportunities and even discuss next steps for translating your research into the clinic.
And, if you are interested in switching from academia to a career in industry as Dr Brierley did, he found Drug Discovery 2017 to be one of the few places where you can thoroughly explore all your options. “Attending Drug Discovery 2017 can help PhD students and postdocs define their career goals, open up new career opportunities, and find out which companies and roles are aligned with their interests and skillsets,” Dr Brierley says.