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SMi is pleased to announce its third annual conference on Cell-Based Assays, due to take place in London on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd November 2010.

About the conference

Now that the majority of screening assays employ the use of cell-based technologies, robust cell-based assays are essential for lead identification and the optimisation of therapeutic candidates.

Factors including the ever increasing numbers of compound failures and rapidly escalating costs of R&D are driving the uptake of increasingly biologically relevant surrogates in cell-based assays to predict the response of drug candidates - leading to developments in areas including stem cell use in screening programmes, 3D cell cultures and label-free detection.

These technologies, and the effective techniques and methods employed in their use have been progressing at breakneck speed and this conference will assemble leading experts from both industry and academia to present you with the latest updates, technologies and critical strategies in a practical, case study focused environment.

  • Hear about new techniques, technologies and methods used in cell-based assays
  • Discuss the use of stem cells in discovery and development
  • Explore the powers of RNAi screening in target discovery and biomarker identification
  • Learn from multiple case studies demonstrating real life data and processes that work
  • Network with key industry associates and solution providers to share valuable experiences

Why not attend the associated workshop as well?

Associated with the conference there will be a half-day interactive workshop on "Cell-based assay preparation for high content analysis and troubleshooting strategies", taking place on 24th November.  It will cover an advanced look into cell based assay preparation for high content analysis and troubleshooting strategies. This will be led by Anthony Mitchell Davies, Director of the high content facility at Trinity College Dublin.  To see more information about the workshop, please see the workshop page.


Cell-Based Assays Image 

Keen to see the detailed programme? Click here.

Want to download the brochure?  Click here.

Want to register your place? Click here.

Make a group booking - discounts apply

Heads of Department, Directors, Managers, Team Leaders, Researchers and Scientists from:

  • Screening
  • Pre-clinical research
  • Pharmacology
  • Lead discovery technologies
  • Molecular and cellular biology
  • Biological technologies
  • Lead generation and optimisation 
  • High content analysis
  • Target identification and validation
  • Target discovery
  • In vitro assays
  • Compound profiling
  • Assay development
  • Biology

Organisations attending this year's Cell-Based Assays conference include:

  • Ablynx
  • Actelion Pharmaceuticals
  • AstraZeneca
  • BTG
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Cibio- University of Trento
  • Cytoo
  • Dundee University
  • EMPA Thun
  • Essen BioScience Ltd
  • Geistlich Pharma
  • Genentech
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Imperial College London
  • Isogenica Ltd
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Leiden University
  • Lonza
  • L'oreal
  • LVMH Recherche
  • Molecular Devices (UK) Ltd
  • MRC Human Nutrition Research
  • National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
  • Novartis
  • Novo Nordisk
  • NsGene
  • Odyssey Thera Inc
  • OSI Pharmaceuticals
  • Patheon
  • Pfizer
  • Pieris Proteolab Ag
  • Reinnervate
  • Roche Diagnostics
  • Sanofi-Aventis
  • SuperGen
  • Tebu - Bio S A
  • The Netherlands Cancer Institute
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • UCB-Celltech
  • University Of Birmingham


Conference programme

8:30 Registration & Coffee

9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

Dame Julia Polak

Dame Julia Polak, Faculty of Medicine, Regenerative Medicine Consortium, Imperial College London

9:10 The challenges and opportunities of cell-based assays in drug discovery

Stephen Rees

Stephen Rees, Director, Screening and Compound Profiling, GlaxoSmithKline

  • Trends, developments and technology advancements
  • Current challenges being faced and how we can overcome these hurdles
  • Getting the most out of existing platforms
  • Case study: identifying a novel compound
  • 9:45 Label free, high content cellular analysis

    Markus Schmitz

    Markus Schmitz, Research & Development in Cellular Analysis, Roche Diagnostics

  • Improved hepatotoxicity analysis
  • xCELLigence system - gene expression and imaging workflows
  • assessment of compounds with pro-arrhythmic liabilities
  • 10:25 Morning Coffee

    10:55 Real time cell analysis as a tool to select potent Nanobodies® reducing cancer cell proliferation

    Frank Verdonck

    Frank Verdonck, Senior Scientist, Team Leader Cell-Based Screening, Ablynx

  • Real time cell analysis versus classic read out methods
  • Selection of target-specific Nanobodies®
  • Potency determination of monovalent and formatted target-specific Nanobodies®
  • 11:30 High fidelity live-cell imaging assays for key biological processes: the power of kinetics

    Derek Trezise

    Derek Trezise, Director, European Discovery Services, Essen BioScience Ltd

  • Novel approaches to measuring cell migration, angiogenesis, apoptosis & proliferation
  • End point vs kinetic measures
  • Dissecting pathways and compound mechanism of action: mono & co-cultures
  • Phenotypic screening & gene interference (siRNA, shRNA) profiling
  • 12:10 Networking Lunch

    13:10 Stem cells as tools to improve in vitro toxicity models of different tissue types

    Glyn Stacey

    Glyn Stacey, Director of the UK Stem Cell Bank, National Institute For Biological Standards And Control

  • Impact of stem cells vs. cell lines
  • How the field is developing and affecting biopharmaceutical development
  • Applications, implementation issues and solutions
  • 13:45 Interactive Panel Discussion

    Topics include:

  • Innovative implementations, approaches and achievements
  • Ethics, safety and regulations
  • Implications for target discovery and lead generation
  • Identifying the challenges facing stem cells and developing solutions

    Please submit your questions in the box provided at the conference or email to smiproduction@smi-online.co.uk 

  • Dame Julia Polak

    Dame Julia Polak, Faculty of Medicine, Regenerative Medicine Consortium, Imperial College London

    Stephen Rees

    Stephen Rees, Director, Screening and Compound Profiling, GlaxoSmithKline

    Glyn Stacey

    Glyn Stacey, Director of the UK Stem Cell Bank, National Institute For Biological Standards And Control

    14:20 Hitting cancer where it hurts most!

    Roderick Beijersbergen

    Roderick Beijersbergen, Associate Professor Division of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Head NKI Robotics and Screening Center, The Netherlands Cancer Institute

  • Synthetic lethal screening
  • Mechanism of drug action
  • Identification of drug resistance
  • High throughput high content screening
  • Cancer screening cell based models
  • 14:55 GPCR signalling assays in drug discovery using primary cells

    Oliver Nayler

    Oliver Nayler, Director, Head, Cardiovascular & Fibrosis Biology, Actelion Pharmaceuticals

  • Developments in the field of label-free technologies
  • Recombinant cells vs. non-recombinant GPCR signalling
  • Case study: Optimising primary cell HTS in discovery
  • 15:30 Afternoon Tea

    16:05 Using siRNA screening for target hunting in drug discovery: A case study

    Anders Damholt

    Anders Damholt, Head of Target Validation Team, AstraZeneca

  • Screening on disease-relevant in vitro models: Assay strategies and models
  • Extracting information using pathway analysis and other systems biology tools
  • Advantages and drawbacks by using siRNA screening for target identification
  • 16:35 Strategies for GPCR functional assays in Drug Discovery

    Andreas Scheel

    Andreas Scheel, Director, Assay Development, OSI Pharmaceuticals

  • Pitfalls with recombinant cellular systems
  • Utility of different assay formats
  • Case study: From recombinant systems to in vivo studies - what comes in between
  • 17:05 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day One

    8:30 Registration & Coffee

    9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

    Darren  Cawkill

    Darren Cawkill, Senior Principal Scientist , Pfizer

    9:10 Case studies in high throughput, high content screening

    Claudine Grépin

    Claudine Grépin, Head of Assay Development & Screening, Sanofi-Aventis

  • Presentation of some high content assay formats adapted to high throughput screening
  • Lessons learned 
  • Added value for hit to lead process
  • 9:45 Development of a unique scaffold enabling the growth of complex 3D tissue cultures

    Stefan Przyborski

    Stefan Przyborski, Founder and CSO, Reinnervate

  • 3D growth following easy to use protocols
  • Exploring the compatibility with standard molecular and cellular assay techniques
  • Comparison of 2D vs. 3D cell culture growth and performance
  • Demonstrating utility in industry and specialised tissues including bone, liver and skin
  • 10:25 Morning Coffee

    10:50 Developments in ion channel assay technologies and techniques

    Pamela Tranter

    Pamela Tranter, Group Head, Automated Electrophysiology, Novartis

  • Emerging measurement technologies
  • Novel ion channel targets
  • Hurdles to overcome
  • Assessing non-voltage gated channels effectively
  • 11:05 Real-time impedence-based Bioassays using the xCELLigence technology

    Laura DeForge

    Laura DeForge, Senior Scientist, Assay & Automation Technology, Genentech

  • Principle of operation
  • Analyzing xCELLigence data
  • Case studies: correlating changes in impedance with traditional assay endpoints
  • 12:00 Expediting preclinical drug development via high content analysis of cellular networks

    John Westwick

    John Westwick, President and CEO, Odyssey Thera Inc

  • Live cell, protein complex-based high-content signal transduction assays
  • Platform enables High-Content screening and profiling in high throughput
  • Development of broad drug and toxicant activity database
  • Defining therapeutic candidate mechanisms, selectivity, safety
  • Case study: identifying optimal candidates throughout the drug development process
  • 12:35 Networking Lunch

    13:35 High content biology applications in oncology drug discovery

    Paula McArdle

    Paula McArdle, Scientist, Assay Sciences and Screening Group, Cancer and Infection Research Area, AstraZeneca

  • Successful Integration of High Content Biology into Drug Discovery
  • Comparison of current HCS platforms
  • Recent examples of best use of multiple platforms in a screening environment
  • 14:10 Quantitative light microscopy employed in analysing motion and chemotaxis of metastatic cells

    Daniel Zicha

    Daniel Zicha, Head of Light Microscopy, Cancer Research UK

  • Techniques
  • Mechanisms
  • Consequences for approaches to drug discovery
  • 14:45 Functional genomics and compound screening with high content 3D cancer invasion models

    Leo Price

    Leo Price, Division of Toxicology, Leiden-Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Leiden University

  • Optimising a relevant 3D biology for screening
  • Miniaturising 3D cultures
  • High throughput 3D imaging
  • Multiparameter feature extraction and analysis
  • 15:20 Afternoon Tea

    15:45 Micro 3D cell culture devices for cell-based sensing and drug screening

    Katharina Maniura

    Katharina Maniura, Head of Research Programme Materials for Health and Performance, EMPA

  • Functionalising micro-well surfaces to mimic ECM and neighbouring cell interaction environments
  • Controlling specific cell functions
  • Translation into drug discovery and screening programs
  • 16:20 Multiparameter analysis for immune cell identification and function

    S. John Curnow

    S. John Curnow, Institute of Biomedical Research, University Of Birmingham

  • Analysis of T cell heterogeneity and function by multi-colour flow cytometry
  • Purification of immune cell subsets to study their function
  • Testing the effects of drug compounds on immune cell function in vitro
  • Identifying defects of immune cell function in disease
  • 16:55 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day Two



    Marriott Regents Park

    128 King Henry's Road
    London NW3 3ST
    United Kingdom

    Marriott Regents Park

    This 4 star north London hotel in zone 2 is the perfect destination for the astute business traveler as well as the leisure guest that knows how convenient north London hotels are, as a base from which to explore the city .Bond Street is just 3 stops from Swiss Cottage underground station on the Jubilee Line, so you can be shopping, exploring the sights and taking in one of London’s world-renowned West End shows in less than 15 minutes when you stay at this hotel near central London. At the same time, the hive of activity that is Camden Town, the chic shops, cafes and restaurants of Primrose Hill and ZSL’s London Zoo in Regents Park are all just a short walk from this hotel in north London.



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    CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

    ‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

    CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

    Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

    CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.


    There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

    For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

    CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.


    Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

    ‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

    ‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

    The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

    As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SMI Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.


    Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

    CPD Certificates

    We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@smi-online.co.uk

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