Research & Innovation 2023 Roundup Blog

Research & Innovation 2023 Roundup Blog

It was great to welcome so many people to the Research and Innovation 2023: Accelerating Future Drug Discovery event last week in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK. Over 350 people came to listen and engage with a fantastic range of talks and pitches, covering a set of diverse topics from specific therapeutic area drug discovery to technical advances that can support your drug discovery research.

Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Ron Weiss from Massachusetts Institute of Technology started the conference with a fascinating exploration of synthetic biology and the potential of programmable cells. Ron discussed three major challenges when developing an organoid model for drug discovery work, as well as taking Artificial Intelligence and neuronal networks full circle, using molecular biology to engineer logic switches in hiPSCs.

Thursday’s plenary on the epigenetic clock and potential ways to manipulate it introduced the auditorium track on research on aging, something that we will all have an interest in! Running alongside was the hot topic of Artificial Intelligence, looking at a range of tools to assist drug discovery.

With two tracks of presentation on both days and a lively poster session and exhibition, there was a buzz of conversation throughout the conference. New connections were made, conversations sparking new ideas initiated and there was even time for catching up with old friends.

Join us to congratulate to the ECP Impact Award and Poster Winners

Part of ELRIG’s vision is to provide a platform for early career professionals (ECPs) both through our dedicated events, training and networking opportunities. The bi-annual Early Careers Professional Impact Award showcases scientists who have contributed through their research, leadership or voluntary work.

The presentation is made twice a year, in the spring at ELRIG’s Research & Innovation conference (which with its focus future technologies and advances, is the obvious place to celebrate future scientific leaders) and in the autumn at ELRIG’s flagship event, Drug Discovery.

This year’s spring winner, Yichao Yu was presented his award by Del Tresize, ELRIG Board member, at Research & Innovation 2023., in front of the entire audience of over 350 delegates Yichao, is a research associate at University College of London, presented his work which uses magnetic nanoparticles to stimulate astrocytes and the potential application in neuromodulation in conjunction with ultrasound.

Early career professionals may apply directly or be nominated by a colleague, so if you know a fantastic scientist just starting out, please give them a nomination.

The poster session at ELRIG events is always full of lively discussions and there were two poster awards up for grabs at Research & Innovation, a general poster award and the best ECP poster award.

The award for the was won by Ganesh Shanane of Iktos entitled “Structure-based generative AI de novo drug design” and the award for the Best ECP Poster was won by Emma Buzzard of the University of Exeter entitled “Cryo-ET for investigating the role of respiratory chain organization in health and disease”.

Congratulations to all our award winners.

Co-solve and sustainability

Life Science labs use many consumables and reagents which traditionally have not been reusable or recyclable and we all know this cannot continue.

AstraZeneca developed the CoSolve programme and ELRIG is honoured to partner with AstraZeneca to promote innovation and the reduction of environmental impact in drug discovery and development process.

Each CoSolve challenge focuses on a specific area and aims to improve sustainability throughout the whole drug discovery and healthcare research area. ELRIG was delighted to provide a platform for the finalists to pitch their ideas to a judging panel and the Research and Innovation delegates.

Challenge 1: Novel technologies to enable filter tip reuse or recycling in research and development.

Approaches included using bioplastics, reuse both in the lab and for other purposes and industrial composting for recycling.

Challenge 2: Novel solutions to enable organic solvent recycling from R&D processes.

Alternatives to commonly used solvents were suggested as well as energy-efficient means to remove contaminants and impurities to allow reuse.

The votes were counted, and the winners will be presenting their solutions in more detail at ELRIG’s Sustainability forum in Oxford on 19th April, alongside talks and discussions to make the Life Sciences industry work towards the health of the planet as well as it’s people.