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The 2014 Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition (EAS), taking place November 17?19 in Somerset, New Jersey, promises attendees a comprehensive program of educational and networking opportunities for analytical scientists. In advance of the event, LCGC spoke to EAS President Anne-Fran?oise Aubry, and EAS Program Chair Andrew V. Teplyakov about what attendees can expect this year.
The 2014 Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition (EAS), taking place November 17–19 in Somerset, New Jersey, promises attendees a comprehensive program of educational and networking opportunities for analytical scientists. In advance of the event, LCGC spoke to EAS President Anne-Françoise Aubry, and EAS Program Chair Andrew V. Teplyakov about what attendees can expect this year.
What is the significance of this year’s theme, “The Art and Science of Analysis”?
Aubry: The theme was inspired by a hallway discussion with a colleague who challenged me on the idea that chromatography may be more art than science. I disagreed vehemently at the time, but it made me think about the part of art in science in general, and instrumental analysis in particular. If art represents the know-how that allows analytical scientists to get the most of the instrumentation available to them, the science would be explaining experimental observations, developing new models or theories, and inventing new applications. The art and science of analysis is also about knowing what technique to use in solving a particular problem and how to combine techniques in new ways to achieve the desired result.
The theme is also a nod to the conservation science program at EAS. We have been fortunate to host the annual conference on art conservation for the last 20 years. The program is developed in collaboration with the New York Conservation Foundation, joined in 2014 by the American Microchemical Society, and it brings together an energetic, creative, and technically up-to-date community of researchers, most of them working in museums, libraries, and other cultural heritage institutions. I don’t know of another general analytical conference with as many art- and heritage-related sessions. Their research is the epitome of art and science.
The program at EAS is designed to bring about both the science and the art. We want attendees of technical sessions to leave with practical solutions they can implement in their own lab. Our short courses complement the program. Taught by experts, they provide in-depth training that is immediately applicable. Having a large exhibit also allows us to combine the technical aspects and the scientific applications in one conference.
What are the “conferences in miniature”?
Aubry: With more than 60 oral and poster sessions, it can be difficult for attendees to find the presentations they really need to attend. Because our audience comes from various fields and industries, it is difficult to create parallel tracks the way many other conferences do. Instead, we organize the program into mini-symposia around a particular theme or technique. We try to make sure that all attendees have at least one full day of programming of interest to them. The art conservation program that we discussed earlier is a good example of a conference in miniature; so is surface science, which has been featured at EAS since 2007. Of course, attendees are free to attend a symposium that is not in their own field. This is the best part of attending an event like EAS: the ability to learn from other fields.
What else is new or exciting about this year’s event?
Aubry: There were several changes introduced last year that we intend to continue. We organized a plenary session on Monday night, which, for the first time in many years, brought together, in the same room, all EAS attendees and contributors. The other change was in the exhibition floor, which was redesigned to facilitate interactions between vendors and users and to bring more attention to poster presentations. For 2014, we have a new and improved registration system that we hope will help attendees plan their visit more efficiently. Finally, the free development workshops are centered around employment with presentations on social media, resume writing and presentation skills. There will be one on each day of the symposium.
You mentioned that this year you are continuing the new approach you started last year of having a plenary session on Monday afternoon. Did you get a good response to last year’s plenary? Can you tell us about this year’s session?
Aubry: We had a very good turnout. The mood was incredible, and everyone had a good time. I think it was a surprise to some to see how large a conference EAS really is. It was particularly satisfying to have so many exhibitors attend the event after a long day at the booth. The plenary session allows everyone to come together to celebrate the most renowned scientists whose names are familiar to almost everyone well before they come to the actual conference. The difficulty with a plenary session at EAS is to find a topic that will be of general interest to all attendees.
This year’s plenary is given by Prof. Joe Caruso of University of Cincinnati, the winner of the EAS Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Fields of Analytical Chemistry. It will follow immediately after the award session in his honor. Prof. Caruso is well known for his research on atomic absorption and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for metal analyses, which have applications across many sciences. One story he tells is how he got into this field by analyzing the milk of “contented cows.” His talk should be fun and inspiring.
What is new in the chromatography programming for this year’s EAS conference? Why did you feel it was important to address the topics in those sessions?
Teplyakov: The session of the EAS Award for Outstanding Achievements in Separation Sciences is centered on the theory-based decision-making in separations and will highlight contributions in the fields of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC). The audience for this topic is very diverse and should enjoy a number of other sessions including a separate session dedicated to SFC and a session on modern separation challenges in separation of biopharmaceuticals, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). We are seeing more and more contributed abstracts related to biopharmaceuticals, a reflection of the more diverse drug portfolio in the pharmaceutical industry and in response have introduced new short courses related to liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC–MS) of proteins and peptides. Gas chromatography (GC) will be featured most prominently in applications related to food and environmental analysis.
Are there also favorite topics returning to the program this year?
Teplyakov: EAS has long been a very attractive venue to present the most novel research and technology in chromatography and related fields, which is also supported by a large number of contributed sessions covering a wide range of themes, from LC productivity to microfluidics and by 11 short courses related to separation sciences. Chromatography and separation methods sessions probably have the highest attendance at the EAS.
A number of topics keep coming up every year, but this recurrence does not mean that the state of the arts in the corresponding fields is the same. It is indeed because of their continuous development that these themes keep bringing back new and interested audience. The traditional HPLC and GC methods, high-performance and high-speed approaches, hyphenated techniques, sample preparation for chromatography, and recent developments in SFC are always of interest to the EAS audience. Short courses on quality-by-design and real-time analysis approaches, chemometrics, microspectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) will also be of interest to many.
Among the general topics, in addition to the ones mentioned above, spectroscopy and microscopy of surfaces, pharmaceutical analysis, NMR, mass spectrometry, laboratory management, forensic science, and microspectroscopy and imaging will all return. We also always highlight the interface of analytical science with education and this year the corresponding session will be dedicated to Integrating Analytical Chemistry Research into Curriculum.