Last week, our team held our very first ever Elemental Series event: Accelerating Science Through Innovation. Our motivation for starting the Elemental Series is to create a community for people interested in applying new technologies to the life sciences. There have been a lot of advancements in mechanical automation (eg. liquid handlers) and IT infrastructure but what about tools to help scientists innovate faster? The Elemental Series event: Accelerating Science Through Innovation drew a unique community in pursuit of this goal.
In many ways, the world changed for the better in the 20th century (Global poverty is down, people are living longer, etc.) thanks, in part, to scientific advancements. To address some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century (eradicating disease, dealing with climate change, etc.), we will continue to rely on scientists for innovative solutions. However, the tools and technologies that these scientists use will be vastly different from those that helped us made great strides in the 20th century.
The Elemental Series event featured a variety of speakers, tech demos, and panel discussions about technologies, policies, and infrastructure for advancing scientific innovation. Thought-provoking speakers shared their expertise, ranging from IoT-, cloud-based data logistics/analytics solutions (Elemental Machines, PerkinElmer) to machine learning solutions (Riffyn, Elemental Machines) to augmented and virtual reality solutions (realworld one). The recurring theme throughout the day was that we now have these promising new technologies that haven’t yet been applied to the life sciences, where the intrinsic value of the end products is high (ie. new therapies), so let’s use them to make scientific innovation faster, cheaper, and more efficient! To complement the talks, interactive demos showcased how the tools and technologies work today and initiated conversations on how this technology could be adapted for specific life sciences workflows.
Other organizations that discussed catapulting life science innovation include LabCentral and MassBio. For LabCentral, Celina Chang explained that means being a launchpad for life sciences startups so that they can focus on their core mission – therapeutic discovery – instead of ancillary (yet necessary) tasks. Bob Coughlin of MassBio described a shared vision based on his personal experience and the mission of MassBio to grow the life sciences industry in Massachusetts over the last decade or so. The numbers show an upward trend, and that's in spite of severe New England winters and terrible Boston traffic!
To round out the event, the Elemental Series featured a panel discussion with some Cambridge-based startups. The panelists further highlighted the event’s theme as their startups are working on novel approaches to accelerate innovation in the areas of chemistry and materials science (Kebotix), microfluidics (Volta Labs), and wet lab automation (Radix Labs). Before the day ended, we were also able to show off some of the technology in use at LabCentral with a group tour. With such an action-packed agenda, we were thrilled by the audience response. Their questions and insights demonstrated a great appreciation of the subjects being discussed.
Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who came out to contribute to the program: Celina Chang (Lab Operations Director LabCentral), Steve Morandi (Technology Services Portfolio Global Leader PerkinElmer), Jill Becker (CEO Kebotix), Udayan Umapathi (CEO Volta Lab), Dhash Shrivathsa (CEO Radix Labs), Tim Gartner (CEO Riffyn), Bob Coughlin (CEO MassBio), Robert Ranville (Business Development realworld one) and Sridhar Iyengar (CEO Elemental Machines).
If you would like updates on future Elemental Series events, please sign up here.