2022 Americas Sample Management Symposium

Thank you to our official APPLIED sponsor:

The SLAS 2022 Americas Sample Management Symposium program will focus on the best practices, lessons learned and new trends in sample management with an emphasis on the impact and potential of emerging technologies and applications of automation along with the business impact and growing challenges of sample management within the supply chain. 


Expanded Sample Management 

Session Chair: Kristen Nailor, Senior Scientific Manager/Biologics Sample Management Team Leader at Genentech

In this session we will explore quality control and what it means for sample management. 

Compound Management in the Age of Perpetual Problems 

Session Chair: Elizabeth Admirand, Associate Director, Head of Compound Management at Agios Pharmaceuticals 

This session will explore supply chain issues in sample and compound management, how companies and groups work with CROs, the challenges and mitigation strategies, and future proofing.  

What is Your Sample Management Wish List 

Session Chair: Duncan Mcnicol, Associate Director, Research at Merck 

Join this discussion on what startups, mid-size and large companies, academics, and vendors need. Explore solutions to those wish list items, and strategies for influencing management to convince them of upgrades.  

Automation Technologies in Sample Management 

Session Chair: Linda Traphagen, Manager Plate Prep in Compound Management at AbbVie

How do informatics, data, AI/ML integrate and affect sample management processes.  

Bhagyashree Khunte



Bhagyashree Khunte Director, Compound Management and Distribution Pfizer Worldwide Research, Development, and Medicine Shree Khunte heads the Pfizer Compound Management and Distribution (CMD) group in Groton, CT specializing in data handling, automation, compound QC, and material logistics to curate compounds in the Pfizer corporate collection and ensure they are made available wherever they are needed across the Pfizer enterprise and externally. Shree has over 25 years of experience in separation sciences and automation seeking opportunities for continuous improvement, driving innovation, and technology development. She joined Pfizer in 2001 and prior to transitioning to Compound Management led the Discovery Separations Group responsible for providing separation and purification support to the Discovery Chemistry Synthesis early and late-stage portfolios maximizing efforts in exploratory chemistry and lead optimization. Shree holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry, and MBA.

Marcus D. Oxer

Product Manager

Titian Software Ltd

Marcus Oxer is a Product Manager at Titian Software. He joined Titian Software in 2012, where he specializes in addressing the needs of biological sample management.. Prior to joining Titian, Marcus worked for GSK and its legacy companies for 23 years. During this time he held roles in molecular biology research, bioinformatics and R&D IT.

Elizabeth Nixon



Elizabeth (Lisa) Nixon has been working with GlaxoSmithKline in Sample Management for 19 years. In those 19 years, she has focused on incorporating innovative ideas and methods into Sample Management's daily operations. She presented at the 2006 SBS conference in Seattle and published papers on Adaptive Focused Acoustics in 2007, Screening Pools in Chemoproteomics Assays in 2015, and Next-Generation Compound Delivery Platforms to Support Miniaturized Biology in 2019. She us an Millersville University Alumni, receiving degrees in Environmental Biology, Chemistry, and Geology.

Wilfredo Pinto

Associate Principal Scientist

Merck & Co., Inc

Wilfredo Pinto is an Assoc.Principal Scientist for the Discovery Sample Management Analytical QC Group at Merck & Co., where he performs high throughput analysis utilizing UPLC/MS/UV fast chromatography for compounds in DMSO solution by assessing identity and purity, confirming stability, and corelating chemical trends such as impurities, degradants, or solubility issues.

Dan Hascall

Principal Scientific Manager


With 23 years of experience in sample management, Dan Hascall has started and managed sample management, automation, and informatics groups at Genentech, Syrrx/Takeda, and Eli Lilly. Prior to joining Lilly’s research division in 1999, Dan spent 6 years as automation control engineer at Eli Lilly with expertise in chromatography and lyopholization control systems. Dan’s background in software, automation and engineering has enabled opportunities in leading teams that focus on Sample Management, Automation, and Informatics. He is currently the leader of Genentech’s compound management group. He also the leader of an informatics team that supports large molecule pharmacology and compound management. Dan’s most recent sample management endeavor was forming a new satellite compound hub in Shanghai China. The satellite hub in China is fully integrated into the South San Francisco operations; thus making the system transparent to Genentech researchers. The Shanghai hub enables researchers to manage compound storage and distribution of project compounds to CROs and partners in China as well as globally.

David Winarta

Lab Head


David Winarta, MS, Lab Head - Biologics Sample Management, AbbVie A passionate and dedicated sample manager, David has been working to better connect samples with scientists for over ten years. David is a key part of AbbVie’s sample management network and is currently working as a lab head at AbbVie Bioresearch Center in Worcester, MA. David holds an M.S. in Pharmaceutical Biochemistry from UMass Lowell and brings a broad background in bioconjugation, purification, analytics, and software expertise, along with a drive for solving problems and closing gaps, to address the task or overcome the challenge at hand.

Manny Ventura

Senior Director and Site Head

ChemPartner Corporation / ChemPartner-San Francisco

Manny Ventura is Senior Director and Site Head of ChemPartner-San Francisco. Before becoming Site Head in 2021, Manny was the Director of Analytical Chemistry for ChemPartner. His responsibilities entailed providing analytical support to ChemPartner Medicinal Chemistry, US clients and co-located incubator tenants. Simultaneously he provided scientific leadership and direction to ChemPartner’s Analytical department in China. As one of the founding members of ChemPartner’s first US site, his role grew to include the responsibility of site Safety Officer. He continues to play a key role in managing laboratory infrastructure, logistics, and management of the South San Francisco scientific incubator where ChemPartner resides. Prior to joining ChemPartner, Manny was the Separations Group leader for Amgen’s Medicinal Chemistry department in South San Francisco. There he implemented this central synthetic chemistry support function with a special focus on chiral separations by supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC.) Previous to his employment at Amgen, Manny worked for Pfizer at their La Jolla site. By the end of his tenure there, he led the Separations group supporting Medicinal Chemistry. Manny began his journey at Pfizer making critical contributions to the design, development and utilization of high-throughput SFC/MS for the analysis of chemical libraries. Manny earned his PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from UC Berkeley.

Oksana Orel

Head of Sales Operations

Chemspace LLC

Oksana Orel received MA from Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Soon after that she started her career as a Sales manager at FCH Group, a local chemical provider in Kyiv. In about 5 years Oksana joined Chemspace LLC as an Account manager to contribute to developing Ukrainian business. Now Oksana serves as Head of sales operations at Chemspace, a marketplace for small molecules with the largest catalog to search and buy from.

Eric A. Williams

Associate Principal Scientist, Biology-Discovery


Eric Williams, Assoc Prin. Scientist, Merck Quantitative Bioscience, Discovery, 17-year career at Merck is focused on assay operations, automation, LIMS and sample management. Eric works on a team of scientists at Merck focused on the integration of innovative technologies to enable robust and efficient execution of a wide range of In Vitro assays. The team works together to drive efficient workflows to enable compound and assay management, data capture and reporting, fit for purpose instrumentation and robotic platforms, and a variety of automation. These workflows primarily support the small molecule drug discovery efforts and are expanding to include other modalities (antibodies, biologics, etc..). Eric enjoys working with and on teams where he can share the Information Technology knowledge, he has accrued over 30+ years with a goal to enable scientists to innovate and impact Merck's pipeline. Eric is a leading a small group of scientists working with IT to reimagine how a LIMS system could help scientists, from assay creation to sample requests to assay execution in the lab, through very modern and integrated software. Eric has had the pleasure of working on teams that discovered Belsomra® the first-in-class Orexin Receptor Antagonist approved for insomnia and many other innovative medicines.

Nancy Wang

Group Leader, Pharmacology

Center for Therapeutics Discovery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Nancy Wang, Ph.D. is Group Leader, Pharmacology at Cleveland Clinic Center for Therapeutics Discovery (C3TD) since 2019. She oversees the Screening and Target Validation group of C3TD which encompasses high throughput screening, assay development, and compound management for therapeutic development programs at LRI. Dr. Wang has developed her career in biopharma industry including 15 years at Athersys, Inc where she worked in the areas of cell biology and in vitro pharmacology for small molecule drug discovery programs. Her area of expertise from her time at Athersys included GPCR biology for the development of small molecule therapeutics for CNS centric therapeutic areas. She also worked at HD Biosciences as Associate Director of Pharmacology where she led a team focused on development of plate-based in vitro pharmacology in support of client driven small molecule development programs. Her time at HD Biosciences was focused on assay development, automation, and compound management to support programs from small biotech to large pharma. Dr. Wang received her B.S. in biochemistry from SUNY-Stony Brook and completed her Ph.D. in biology at UC San Diego. She went on to complete her post-doctoral studies CWRU School of Medicine in cancer biology.

Thu Thai

Principal Scientist

Bristol Myers Squibb

Thu Thai is a principal scientist from Bristol Myers Squibb, San Diego, CA. She obtained her undergrad in Biochemistry/Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego. Thu started out her career working in the lab of Dr. Ogata studied on complement proteins at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies for 7 years. In 2005, she joined compound management team at Celgene, now Bristol Myers Squibb. Since then, she has helped the team to grow and expand the support for testing in high-throughput screening and profiling assays not only to the San Diego sites but also to other sites of BMS and collaborators as well as CROs. Her focus is compound management and how to utilize automation to help compound management team in their daily tasks.

John Smutko

Director Scientific Operations, Oncology EMU


Nicolas Zorn, Ph.D.

Head Compound Library Enhancement and Logistics

Hoffmann La Roche

Nicolas Zorn is currently the head of the Compound Library Enhancement and Logistics team at Roche pRED in Basel within The Small Molecule Research, Lead Discovery organization. Nicolas is an Organic Chemist by training (Ph.D. at the University of Paris 6, PostDoc at Indiana University, US) and has worked for 10 years supporting and driving projects in several disease areas as medicinal chemist and computational chemist at Merck MDS in the USA, then Roche in Switzerland. In the last four years, he has led the Compound Library Enhancement and Logistics team in Basel where all samples are processed and distributed for Small Molecule Research in pRED.

Jared Epstein

Inventory Manager


Jared Epstein, MS, Inventory Manager, has worked in the healthcare or Pharmaceutical industry for the past 13+ years and has been with AbbVie for the last 6 years in the Global Compound and Logistics Organization. As inventory manager of the primary global compound repository, Jared has been responsible for supporting major efforts of Discovery and Development Sciences across a wide array of projects requiring small molecule research materials. Specifically, Jared has overseen the organization, storage, and reformatting of research material for delivery throughout AbbVie an its collaborators.

Michelle Galante

Group Leader, Operations


Matthew M. Boeckeler



Multifaceted, cross-functional leader who seamlessly meshes his scientific and automation background with his top-notch business education. Innovative visionary with 20 years of successive career advancement in the life sciences industry, focused on automated platform development, process improvement, and value chain optimization. Specialties: - Technology development and implementation - Automation systems, including design & fabrication - Innovative solutions, efficiency, and value creation - Compound management operations - Biobank operations - Staff development and cultivation - Cross-functional team building - Change management leadership - Lean Sigma analysis and implementation - Project Management - Product Development - Self-motivated innovation - Creative problem solving - (Calculated) risk taking - Thinking outside the box - Being able to see the big picture

Cara Sutcliffe

Senior Project Manager

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Cara Sutcliffe, MS, is the Senior Project Manager in the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. With over twenty-five years experience in DNA extraction, analysis, and biobanking, she has overseen the purchase and installation of multiple automated sample storage systems in an academic environment.


Expanded Sample Management
Towards ultra-high throughput sample QC and beyond
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available The Compound Management and Distribution (CMD) group provides high throughput analytical assessment (LC-MS) of compounds on a routine basis to support hit identification and lead optimization. Compounds being requested for plating to support lead optimization assays are automatically sent for sample QC testing to confirm mass and sample purity and the results are made available via the Research Information repository. This data is invaluable for understanding the quality of a sample and is used by the project teams to validate the relationship between compound structure and observed biological activity (SAR). QC testing is also performed “on demand/special request” to support target validation and hit identification efforts, however the number of compounds that need to be analyzed can be orders of magnitude greater and require ultra-high throughput. Acoustic ejection coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry (AE-HRMS) is an emerging methodology that provides very fast sampling (~1sec/sample) from a variety of liquid matrices. We are implementing AE-HRMS as a platform to support ultra-high throughput sample QC (uHT-sQC) within CMD in partnership with the Hit Discovery and Optimization group and SCIEX.
Fully-automated sample mixture generation - evolving new capabilities to support large molecule drug discovery
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available Sample mixtures are widely used in discovery research for applications such as screening of pools or combinations, or for protein expression. Automation of the preparation of sample mixtures is highly desirable both for efficiency gains and to eliminate costly errors in sample handling. Here we look at how a collaborative project between vendor and customer has led to a rapid evolution of capability to fully automate some complex use cases in support of large molecule drug discovery.
Transforming Sample Management for a High Throughput Modality Agnostic Future
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available Until recently, Drug Discovery was largely focused on small molecules, as these were the main source of new medicines, but pharmaceutical research is advancing. Drug Modalities are changing, and Sample Management at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is transforming along with it. It is adapting and modernizing and expanding to ensure sample handling capabilities are fit for purpose to align with our R&D strategy. In its final stages of a large global modernization strategy, this presentation will highlight the advances Sample Management has made to align existing small molecule support strategies with flexible storage systems, software enhancements, and updated liquid handling platforms to support multiple molecule types. With these upgrades, GSK Sample Management successfully expanded their capabilities to include the storage and handling of large molecule collections and are developing the end-to-end management of gRNA libraries, while continuously encouraging machine sharing with our business partners. The presentation will also discuss the challenges faced during implementation, assuring sample quality, and future goals in securing a modality agnostic landscape.
Characterization of the Merck Sample Collection by UPLC-MS and Evaluation of the Data Using Virscidian
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available The analytical QC group within Discovery Sample Management is responsible for the quality and integrity of the Merck Compound Collection. The group’s main function is to determine the purity of the compounds and confirm molecular weight. The QC group handles analytical data in early-stage discovery, publishing time zero analysis in the QC Merck Chemical Information Browser. The group provides data on the integrity of the historical collection as well as that of new compounds from Compound Submission Labs (CSL), compounds from external partners, and fragment libraries. This group also supports ad hoc requests from chemistry and biology teams, High-Throughput Screening dose response requests, and HRMS analysis for publication and patent support. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) is an analytical technique that the group uses for fast separation with vastly improved sensitivity and resolution. This talk will describe our current high-throughput analysis methods, fast automated processing using Virscidian software, re-analysis, remediation of the sample collection, and data reporting.
Expanded Sample Management Q&A
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Sample Management in the Age of Perpetual Challenges
Expanding Compound Management into China during a Global Pandemic
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Open to view video. What happens to compound management when you have global research, but a central compound management site during a global pandemic? If operations are suspended at the compound hub, it can create a whole new set of logistical nightmares. Process disruptions in a central hub can slow research projects, create confusion, and break systems. But, they can also create new opportunities.
Stronger Together - A Sample Management Integration Case Study
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available Just over a year ago, AbbVie consolidated its sample management groups for small molecules and biologics under one global team to solidify the ownership of and accountability for building and driving towards a more robust, advanced, and streamlined future state of sample management. However, this was not a change that was crafted from a top-down perspective - it was strongly guided and championed by the sample management groups themselves in a shared effort to work towards a future state vision. This case study will cover the evolution of the biologics sample management group at AbbVie to its current and more integrated state and will focus on the aspects of data-driven change management that made this possibility into a reality.
Delivering Efficiency for International Sample Transfers Through Challenging Times
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available International collaborations for drug discovery depend critically on the efficient transfer of chemical and biological samples between research facilities worldwide. ChemPartner, a full-service pharmaceutical CRO, serves a great many international clients. Research activities that generate sensitive materials in the US and abroad require a logistics system that cannot fail on any level. ChemPartner’s Logistics team in the US acts as a central hub between worldwide clients, reagent vendors, and research centers in China. Sample integrity and project timelines must be maintained. These requirements have been challenged recently due to certain changes in trade policy and Covid-19 pandemic-related obstacles. This presentation will describe how ChemPartner Logistics’ sample shipment procedures are set up to ensure the necessary integrity and timeliness to keep our international research collaborations working smoothly. It describes what safeguards we employ to ensure alignment of expectations between ChemPartner Logistics in the US, our overseas colleagues, international clients, and customs agencies. The procedures for the various classes of materials we handle in import/export are detailed. Some requirements described include our key guidelines for preparing international shipping documents to effectively avoid customs delays and ensure clearance. We explain how we responded to new Covid-19 pandemic policies with procedures to improve the outcomes of sample shipments subject to these changes. We further highlight examples of how some difficult recent situations were navigated via creative changes to shipping protocols. Finally, we summarize the typical timelines for shipments exported to certain countries where we deliver the greatest numbers of samples.
Research must go on: challenges in compound sourcing during COVID-19 and war in Ukraine.
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available Chemspace is a marketplace for small molecules and biologics with the largest catalog that also provides sourcing and procurement services. We completely understand, that the success of customers' projects highly depends on choosing the right source of molecules as well as meeting the expected deadlines of the delivery. Therefore our main goal is to deliver high-quality products to our customers fast while making the purchasing process simplified. During the last two years, the whole world faced recurring halts in deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic which in turn has influenced all the projects and study schedules. We at Chemspace always keep in touch with the customers to provide them with up-to-date information on their requests, purchases, and possible delays if any occur. February 2022 has become a great challenge for conducting business, as our headquarters is located in Kyiv, Ukraine. During the first weeks of the war in Ukraine, there was no complete understanding of how to make orders delivered not to mention meeting the deadlines for those to be shipped from our Ukrainian partners' stocks as well as if they would remain undemolished and operating. Our Ukrainian partners have a globally significant number of ready-to-ship compounds which are an integral part of research and development worldwide. It has become quite a challenge to find ways of safe delivery abroad considering the circumstances. But thanks to endless patience and understanding from our customers we keep doing as much as possible to make them satisfied with our performance. The war in Ukraine has brought a new view on life and forced every one of us to accept and adjust to the new reality and find ways to overcome obstacles day by day despite everything.
Sample Management in the Age of Perpetual Challenges Q&A
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What is Your Operational Sample Management Wish List?
What is Your Operational Sample Management Wish List Panel
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Automation Technologies in Sample Management
Laser focused on our future: Design and Implementation of Next Generation Compound Management Workflows for Lead Discovery at Roche pRED
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Open to view video. In the Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) Basel Lead Discovery department, workflows of our drug discovery value chain (from Assay Development to HTS to compound profiling, including the provision of cells and compounds) are being subject to a large investment aiming at the renewal of our Small Molecule research capacity. This is a unique opportunity to approach our collaborative work in new ways and introduce the latest features of orchestration and flexible automation landscape design. This presentation will highlight the key drivers behind the overall program, and will share more specific details on the Compound Logistics concept and solution design.
The Evolution of AbbVie's Small Molecule Sample Storage
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Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available We'll take a look at the transformation of AbbVie's primary small molecule compound storage strategy specifically diving into the drastic change from large built-in storage options to smaller modular options. We'll discuss the benefits reaped and how it has enhanced our ability to deliver samples to our stake holders with higher throughput while allowing us to agilely expand our capacity.
What is Your Strategic Sample Management Wish List?
What is Your Strategic Sample Management Wish List Panel
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