Pittcon 2019 Preview


The Column

ColumnThe Column-03-06-2019
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages: 8–10

Pittcon celebrates its 70th year with thousands of chromatographers from around the globe and a range of industries taking over the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, from 17–21 March 2019 for a week of education, research, instrumentation, and networking.

Photo Credit: sborisov/stock.adobe.com

Pittcon celebrates its 70th year with thousands of chromatographers from around the globe and a range of industries taking over the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, from 17–21 March 2019 for a week of education, research, instrumentation, and networking.

Pittcon’s host city, Philadelphia, boasts an extensive life sciences community including seven medical schools, 22 nursing schools, two dental schools, three colleges of pharmacy, a veterinary school, a school of optometry, a podiatry school, 100 hospitals, and numerous biomedical and pharmaceutical companies. The city also leads in industries such as energy, manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, healthcare information technology, and more. Philadelphia is a perfect fit for Pittcon!

The three-day exposition will open its doors on Tuesday 19 March 2019 until Thursday 21 March 2019, featuring chromatographic instruments from pumps and filters to detectors that complete (ultra)high-pressure liquid chromatography (U)HPLC, solid-phase extraction (SPE), gas chromatography (GC), and ion chromatography (IC) systems. To allow attendees ample time to visit the exhibit hall, the organizers have created a technical programme- and short course-free afternoon on Wednesday 20 March 2019.

The Pittcon Park includes several hands-on opportunities for both attendee and exhibitor participation including DemoZones, the Lab Gauntlet, Virtual Reality, LEGO Gravity Car Racing, and more.

Recent additions to the exhibit hall are the NEXUS Theaters. Two “soft science” areas are available in the exhibit hall for attendees to enjoy panels and other engaging, educational, and interactive presentations. This year fundraising efforts for autism awareness, benefitting the PEAL (Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership) Center, will also be visible at the expo. The Pittcon Planetarium will be open for attendees to enjoy a presentation for a small donation. Booths will also be placed in the convention centre spreading awareness of the PEAL Center’s mission, collecting donations, and selling items.

The technical programme will kick off on Monday 18 March at the Wallace H. Coulter Lecture with Nobel Laureate, Dr. Fraser Stoddart. He will present “Serendipity Stokes Discovery: Disrupting Established Industries”.

On Tuesday evening, Dr. Fenella France from the Library of Congress will take the stage at the Plenary Lecture to speak about “Preserving and Revealing History-Challenges of a Cultural Heritage Scientist.”


Pittcon’s technical programme features a line-up of high-calibre speakers and hot topics in a range of industries and methodologies. Chromatographers may want to attend the following symposia:

  • Recent Advances in Two-Dimensional Liquid Chromatography-Theory and Practice, organized by Dwight Stoll, will bring together experts in 2D-LC from both academic and industrial laboratories. Presentations will cover a wide range of topics, including polymer separations, separations of natural products, and separations of both small and large pharmaceutical molecules.

  • The Application of Analytical Chemistry in Biofuel Study, organized by Yanhong Zhang, will showcase some novel approaches on how to characterize the feedstock, evaluate the conversion process, quantify the production yield, and provide specification of the biofuels. This is a great challenge for analytical chemists currently working in the USA because the main feedstock for the biofuel industry is starch and oil from agriculture production, and biomass is likely to play a more dominant role soon.

  • Advances in Capillary LC Separations, organized by Stephen Weber, brings together researchers using capillary liquid chromatography in very creative ways to accomplish analytical goals. In these pursuits, capillary liquid chromatography becomes part of a larger analytical system. Such analytical systems, while requiring more attention to detail than analytical-scale systems, reward the analyst with better mass detection limits and increased capabilities because of their size and low volume requirements.

  • Automation in the Research and Development Laboratory: From Academia to Industry, organized by Kaitlin Grinias and Marcelo Filgueira, will provide a concentrated forum for scientists from industry, pharmaceuticals, and academia to share and discuss the role of robotics in chemical research. It will also showcase how recent advances in automation are paving the way to exploit the benefits of machine learning.

The LCGC Lifetime Achievement and Emerging Leader in Chromatography Awards Symposia is another must-attend session. Milos Novotny, the 2019 Lifetime Achievement in Chromatography Award winner, was a pioneer in virtually all capillary separation techniques, including capillary GC, LC and supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC), and capillary electrophoresis (CE) and capillary electrochromatography (CEC) of peptides and carbohydrates. He also developed important LC–MS and CE methodologies in glycomics and glycoproteomics. Ken Broeckhoven, the 2019 Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award recipient, has advanced chromatography fundamentals in areas such as applying the kinetic plot method to gradient LC, addressing viscous heating effects in UHPLC, using very high operating pressures, and researching turbulent flow in SFC.

Editorial director of LCGC, Laura Bush, will moderate a special session of talks presented by major figures in the separation science sector, including the two award winners, on Tuesday 19 March at 13:30 in Room 125.


In addition to the technical programme and exposition, the continuing education short course programme is an integral part of the conference for chromatographers looking for courses to increase their job productivity or to improve their skill set. Pittcon has a variety to choose from. The classes are taught by industry experts and the class sizes are small to allow a more personalized educational experience. Chromatographers may find value in the following:

  • GC & GC–MS Troubleshooting & Maintenance, instructed by Diane Turner. The course has been approved by the Royal Society of Chemistry for purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The course will cover parts of the system requiring maintenance, how often and how to identify when maintenance is required, preparing for problems, how to identify problems, and the troubleshooting process. This knowledge is then put to the test in troubleshooting chromatograms.

  • Cannabis Analytics, instructed by Ganesh Moorthy. This course will cover a brief history of cannabinoids, isolation and identification of cannabinoids, analysis of cannabinoids in cannabis, analysis of cannabinoids in biological samples (blood, plasma, and urine), and recent developments and future directions of cannabinoid and terpene analysis.

  • Analytical Sampling and Sample Preparation for Chromatography, instructed by Doug Raynie. This short course is designed to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the role of sampling and sample preparation in analytical chemistry, particularly related to chromatography. Upon successful completion of the course, the participant will have an understanding of sampling consideration and approaches, and sample preparation strategies.

  • Mastering Gas Chromatography, instructed by Lee Polite. In this class, a firm understanding of the fundamentals of GC will be gained and the fundamentals applied to daily analyses. Students will learn how to develop a method from scratch, cut analysis time at least in half, maybe even by a factor of 10 (without affecting the resolution), improve sensitivity by 10–1000-fold, improve separations, and explain what GC is and how it works.

Another stop on an attendee’s agenda should be a networking session. These moderated, roundtable discussions on a particular topic offer a relaxed environment to brainstorm with peers and ask questions in an open forum-type environment. Consider stopping by one of these discussions:

  • Hot Topics and Adoption of Comprehensive GC (GC×GC), facilitated by Lorne Fell and Joe Binkley, will focus on success stories of GC×GC, as well as sharing information on best practices for success. The discussion will cover the types of GC×GC (thermal or flow) and the choices for detection that are used today.

  • Smarter and More Automated LC Systems? facilitated by Thomas Swann and Sebastian Rakus. LC systems are powerful analytical tools, but should they be smarter and more automated? This session will discuss what is needed in smarter and more automated LC systems, how they should be interacted with, and how they might help us do our jobs better.

  • Mobile Phase Selection for LC–MS Analysis facilitated by Subhra Bhattacharya and Stephen Roemer. With the advances in instrument sensitivity, demand for interference-free mobile phase is increasing. Selection and optimization of a mobile phase is critical for the overall performance of LC–MS. A limited number of mobile phases are compatible with LC–MS. It is challenging to select the correct mobile phase to achieve the separation of a complex mixture and identify the separated components.

  • Novel Approaches to Undergraduate Chromatography Education, facilitated by Amber Hupp and Michelle Kovarik, will bring together users and educators from the separations community. Share ideas and help to build connections among academic, industry, and government sectors.

Pittcon can be a bit overwhelming to newcomers, and even the seasoned attendee! In order to make the planning process as simple as possible, there are an array of tools for attendee use. The most convenient is the Pittcon 2019 mobile app. The app can be downloaded for free and can search the programme, short courses, and exhibitors, view the exhibit hall and convention centre maps, add sessions to the user agenda, favourite and take notes, and much more. There is also an online search feature available that syncs with the mobile app on the Pittcon website.

Registration for Pittcon 2019 is now open to celebrate 70 years of bringing the analytical chemistry community together.

Contact: Kimberly Palastro
E-mail:publicity@pittcon.orgLocation: Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Stay Connected with LCGC
The LCGC team will be at Pittcon 2019 (Booth 1307), bringing you the latest news and updates from around the event. Tweet us at @LC_GC to keep up-to-date or to send us your personal conference highlights.

Related Videos
Robert Kennedy
John McLean | Image Credit: © Aaron Acevedo
Related Content