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  • Pittcon Spotlights Innovation
Feb 2008
NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 8, 2008 -- Pittcon 2008, the 59th annual Pittsburgh Conference and Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, will feature 55 symposia, 118 short courses, 115 oral sessions, 80 poster sessions, 14 new product forums and 10 workshops on the latest innovations and technical developments in analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. The largest, most comprehensive conference and exhibition for laboratory science takes place March 2-7 in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans will host Pittcon 2008, the 59th annual Pittsburgh Conference and Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, March 2-7. (Photo courtesy Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
"The Big Easy" is hosting Pittcon for the first time since 2002; the conference had been scheduled to return in 2007 but organizers moved it to Chicago after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region.

"New Orleans has always been a great venue for Pittcon. The city has courageously addressed its many challenges since Hurricane Katrina and has already successfully hosted a number of conferences and exhibitions in 2006 and 2007, many even larger than Pittcon. In our recent visits to New Orleans, we were pleased to see the revitalization of the historic city," Pittcon 2008 President John A. Varine said in a letter to attendees.

This year more than 20,000 are expected to attend. Pittcon 2007 drew 22,213 attendees -- an 18 percent increase over 2006 -- and featured more than 2300 technical sessions.

Pittcon 2008's March 2-6 technical program will include invited symposia, organized contributed oral sessions, contributed oral sessions, workshops, new product forums, and poster sessions. Major areas of interest include: bioanalytical chemistry, biomedicine, neurochemistry, polymer science, informatics, nanotechnology, applied molecular spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, sensor technology, chemical analysis of art objects, environmental chemistry and forensic analysis. Networking sessions for attendees have been expanded because of overwhelming response last year, conference organizers said.

LeroyHood.jpgDr. Leroy Hood, president of the Institute for Systems Biology, is the Pittcon 2008 plenary lecturer March 2 at 4:30 p.m. Hood’s research has focused on fundamental biology (immunity, evolution, genomics) and on bringing engineering to biology. He helped develop DNA and protein sequencers and synthesizers and the ink-jet oligonucleotide synthesizer for making DNA arrays, five instruments that provided the technological foundation for modern molecular biology and genomics. He has since applied these technologies to diverse fields including immunology, neurobiology, cancer biology, molecular evolution and systems medicine.

In his plenary presentation, "Systems Biology and Systems Medicine," Hood will outline the contemporary state of systems biology and focus on its application to disease. He will discuss how systems medicine, together with pioneering changes in DNA sequencing and blood protein measurements (nanotechnology) and new computational and mathematical tools, will transform medicine over the next 5-20 years. This change from a reactive state to a model that is predictive, personalized, preventative and participatory will lead to the digitalization of medicine and will make profound changes to the future delivery of health care.
More than 80 poster sessions will be featured during Pittcon 2008. (Photo courtesy The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Inc.)
Another highlight of the technical conference will be the 19th annual James L. Waters Symposium, which recognizes pioneers in the development of analytical instrumentation. The symposium will take place March 3 from 1:30-4:30 p.m.; featured speakers include: Hood, "Technology Can Transform Biology;" Richard K. Wilson, Washington University School of Medicine, "The Early Days of Developing Sanger Sequencing;" Lloyd Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "The Development of Automated DNA Sequencing;" Robert H. Waterston, University of Washington, "The Human Genome Project;" and George M. Church, Harvard Medical School, "High Throughput DNA Sequencing and the Personalized Genome Project."

Last year eight free networking sessions were offered to attendees, giving them the opportunity to engage in scientific discussion with their peers. This year Pittcon will offer 27 networking sessions, organizers said. Topics of these sessions include: "Consulting for the Gypsy Scientist," "Analytical Chemistry Outsourcing in the Pharmaceutical Industry," "Electronic Nose & Tongue Instruments for Smell and Taste Analysis," "Micromechanical Chem/Bio Sensors," "Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry," and "Laboratory Compliance --- Impact to Data Integrity."

Nearly 1100 exhibitors will be featured during the Pittcon 2008 Exposition March 3-6. They will showcase the most recent advances in analytical and spectroscopic instrumentation and laboratory products and provide ample opportunity for hands-on demonstrations and technical discussions with the developers and technical experts on topics including bioanalytical chemistry, pharmaceutical science and drug discovery chemistry, nanotechnology, environmental analysis, forensics, food analysis, and homeland security.
Nearly 1100 exhibitors will demonstrate their latest analytical and spectroscopic instrumentation and laboratory products and provide hands-on demonstrations at Pittcon 2008.(Photo courtesy The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Inc.)

Exhibitors from all over the world attend Pittcon, with approximately 19 percent based in countries such as the UK, Canada, China, Australia, France, Korea, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, and Sweden. The nearly 700,000-sq-ft exposition floor will include 2440 booths, 45 seminar rooms, 13 new product forums, two complimentary mixers, and three specialized areas: New Exhibitor, Life Sciences, and Laboratory Informatics.

“This year, we have implemented several enhancements to the floor in response to attendee and exhibitor feedback, including increasing the complimentary mixer locations, restructuring the poster area, and adding a 10,000-square-foot rest area, Jackson Square -- fashioned after the famous New Orleans landmark -- just to name a few,” said Janeth Pifer, exposition chairman.

Pittcon 2008 will also include the presentation of 11 awards, including the Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award, the Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award, the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, and the Charles N. Reilley and Young Investigator awards.

Pittcon is organized by The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a nonprofit organization co-sponsored by the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP) and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP). Pittcon is co-programmed by the American Chemical Society-Division of Analytical Chemistry (ACS-DAC).

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mass spectrometry
An instrumental technique that utilizes the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles as recorded from a mass spectrometer in order to determine the mass of a particle as well as the chemical makeup, or elemental ionic composition of a given sample or molecule.
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
1. A generic term for detector. 2. A complete optical/mechanical/electronic system that contains some form of radiation detector.
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