2016 SLAS Leadership Forum

Monday, January 25, 2016 – 10:30 am – 2:00 pm (local time)

At SLAS2016, the 5th Annual International Conference and Exhibition, SLAS will host the Society's second annual Leadership Forum dedicated to key, strategic-caliber issues related to life science R&D.

This is an invitation-only event for executives, senior-level management, and key opinion leaders among the SLAS community. Among the invitees will be past and current leaders of SLAS and its legacy organizations, the Society for Biomolecular Sciences (SBS) and the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA).

This year's program will feature a panel discussion The Forum features a distinguished panel to lead a discussion on a specific topic with a small invited audience of 50 senior SLAS members who are in leadership positions in their organizations. The topic chosen this year is "Genome-Based Therapeutics – Are We Finally There?" The Forum does not involve formal presentations, but is purely a discussion/Q&A session based on a pre-agreed discussion outline, and is chaired by the SLAS Past President.

Event Schedule:

Monday, January 25, 2016

10:30am – 12:30 pm Panel Discussion and Programming
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm Networking Lunch

Admission to the 2016 SLAS Leadership Forum is by invitation only and requires a separate registration fee. For more information, or to request an invitation to attend, please contact Amy McGorry, SLAS Manager, Events and Education via email at

Scheduled Panelists Include:

Michael M. Gottesman

Michael M. Gottesman, MD
National Cancer Institute

Since 1993, Dr. Gottesman has been Deputy Director for Intramural Research at NIH, where he oversees research and training in the federal laboratories. Dr. Gottesman became Chief of the Laboratory of Cell Biology in the National Cancer Institute in 1990. From 1992 to 1993, he was Acting Director for the National Center for Human Genome Research, and he was Acting Scientific Director of the NCHGR in 1993. His research interests, reflected in over 500 research publications, have ranged from how DNA is replicated in bacteria to how cancer cells elude chemotherapy. He is an elected fellow of the AAAS, the American Association of Physicians, and has been a member of the Institute of Medicine since 2003 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2008.

Jennifer Harris

Jennifer Harris
Director of Drug Discovery Biology, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF)

Dr. Harris serves as Director of Drug Discovery Biology at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), where she is responsible for groups in drug discovery research biology, high-throughput screening, and advanced automation. Jennifer has over 15 years of experience in drug discovery research. She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications. Notable projects include identification of targets and therapeutics for the treatment of lung cancer patients (LDK378/Zykadia), neuroblastoma patients (LDK378/LEE011 combination), and head and neck and pancreatic cancer patients (WNT974). Current biology interests are focused on regeneration and developmental pathways. Jennifer completed her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco in the laboratory of Charles S. Craik, followed by postdoctoral work with Peter G. Schultz at GNF. She also held a faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in the department of Molecular Biology from 2003-2010.

Karen Gutekunst

Karen Gütekunst, Ph.D
Vice President of Diagnostic Development, Illumina, Inc.

Karen Gütekunst is currently Vice President of Diagnostic Development at Illumina. Karen holds a Ph. D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has over 20 years in the Diagnostic industry. Karen leads a team of scientists who are responsible for taking Illumina’s cutting edge sequencing technology and instrumentation through regulatory approval processes world-wide. She started her career at Roche Molecular Systems, a business unit of Roche Diagnostics. Karen has led product development efforts, Project Management teams and Regulatory Affairs during her tenure at Roche. She led the successful development of the first FDA approved nucleic acid test for the detection of Hepatitis C, and participated in the development of many PCR-based tests for infectious disease as well as genetics and oncology. Karen was a key member of the team that conducted the Athena Trial; a major clinical study involving over 45,000 subjects that was the basis for the approval of Roche’s HPV DNA test. After leaving Roche, Karen joined Clarient, a GE Healthcare company where she led the R & D team responsible for developing laboratory developed tests to enable better characterization of tumor samples from cancer patients. Her team also supported several clinical studies in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies developing better personalized therapeutics. Karen has a passion for enabling technology to be used to improve healthcare. As part of the Illumina team, she is excited to see next generation sequencing transform the way we think about complex genetic diseases, particularly cancer. Karen also believes in developing our next generation of leaders who will continue to bring innovation into the healthcare space.

Matthew J. McGinniss

Matthew J. McGinniss, Ph.D. FACMG
Executive Director, Clinical Genomics, Genoptix, Inc., a Novartis company

Dr. McGinniss has over 20 years of experience in clinical laboratory operations and management. Prior to joining Genoptix, he was Senior Director at Caris Life Sciences in Phoenix, AZ. Prior to joining Caris, he was Executive Director Laboratory Operations at Prometheus Laboratories in San Diego. He served as a Senior Director, Molecular Genetics for Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute. Prior to that, he was an Associate Director at Sequenom Inc. He directed the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at Children's Hospital — San Diego, CA. He is board-certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics and in Molecular Diagnostics by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. Dr. McGinniss holds a BA in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire, an MS in Zoology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a PhD in Cell Biology (Genetics) from the University of Vermont. He has 1 issued U.S. patent and 9 U.S. patent applications, and is the author of 48 scientific papers including 4 book chapters/reviews.

Daniel G. Sipes

Daniel G. Sipes
Director of Advanced Automation Technologies at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) in San Diego, CA.

Daniel runs an innovative technology development group at the intersection of science and engineering. Notable successes have been automated platforms enabling ultra-high throughput processing of complex cell-based assays, cellular profiling systems, high-throughput flow cytometry, automated protein expression and purification platforms as well as automated tissue culture systems. His most recent work has focused on automation to support more complex readouts such as single-cell multiplexed gene expression and next gen sequencing. Prior to working at GNF Daniel held various positions at Kalypsys, Inc, Ligand Pharmaceuticals and Genentech, Inc. Daniel graduated with a BS in Biology from California State University, Sacramento in 1989 and an MS in Immunology from University of California, Davis in 1994. Daniel served on the Board of Directors for the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening from 2013-2015 and as President in 2014-15.