SYCL Comes of Age

AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo 2014 - July 28-Aug 1 - Chicago

In This Issue...


SYCL Comes of Age

SYCL members hamming it up in a photo booth
learning technologies

In 2004 AACC created a special interest group to meet the needs of members just establishing their careers in clinical laboratory medicine. That fledgling initiative has now grown into the Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians (SYCL), a thriving program with nearly 1,000 members younger than age 40. SYCL will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at this year's Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, making for extra-special special events and educational programs.

Attendees who plan to arrive early before the official start of the Annual Meeting won't want to miss SYCL's workshop on Saturday July 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The SYCL committee has assembled an all-star cast of experts who will be addressing the ever-timely topic of the value of laboratorians and lab medicine in today's challenging healthcare environment.  Dr. Graham Beastall of Glasgow, Scotland, who serves as a professional adviser on laboratory medicine to the United Kingdom Department of Health, will address how adding value to lab medicine is a professional responsibility of laboratorians. Dr. Rita Horvath, clinical director at SEALS department of clinical chemistry in Sydney, Australia, will take a look at evidence-based lab medicine in action, while Dr. Kent Lewandrowski, director of clinical laboratories and molecular medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, will discuss the role of the clinical lab director in establishing a utilization management program. Finally, Dr. M. Laura Parnas, director of clinical science at Sutter Health Shared Laboratory in Livermore, California, will tie themes from her co-presenters' remarks into a highly interactive session in which attendees will have the opportunity to apply lessons they just learned.

All workshop attendees will have entrée to SYCL's Mixer, which immediately follows the Workshop, starting at 5:30 p.m. Traditionally considered the SYCL event of the year, the 2014 Mixer promises to be particularly memorable. The organizers are keeping the evening's theme under wraps, but let's just say it should be an excellent, fun-filled event, thanks to the hard-working committee members as well as support from at least 14 corporate partners. In addition to some definitely not lab-related activities, food and libations, attendees will discover the winner of SYCL's 10th anniversary t-shirt design contest. Will it be an Ohioan, Dr. Steven Cotten of Columbus or Dr. Joe El-Khoury of Cleveland, or a Brazilian, Dr. Gabriel Lima-Oliveira, of the Federal University of Parana?

Saturday's Workshop and Mixer won't be SYCL's only chances to shine at the Annual Meeting. SYCL and the American Board of Clinical Chemistry will hold a joint reception on July 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., during which SYCL's seven travel grant honorees will be recognized.

Last, but certainly not least, Drs. Parnas, Christopher McCudden of The Ottawa Hospital in Canada, and Paul Jannetto of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, will be discussing the ins-and-outs of getting, starting, and changing jobs. This afternoon Symposium on July 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (34214), developed in cooperation with SYCL, will address some really practical aspects of advancing one's career: interviewing skills, long- and short-term strategies for success in new jobs, knowing when it's time to move on from a position, and how to go about doing so.

From the practical to the playful, SYCL will be celebrating its decennial in total style! Come and be part of it, won't you?


Knocking Out the Bugs: New Approaches to Infectious Diseases

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is one of the technologies transforming microbiology
infectious disease

The May issue of Clinical Laboratory News described a revolution that's taking place in microbiology, with new technologies and methods either bypassing culture steps altogether or shortening the time needed to positively identify organisms. This year's Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo reflects the active research and practice changes occurring in this field.

The aptly named afternoon Short Course, Hot Topics in Clinical Microbiology (73221), will take a look at three subjects of particular interest today, diagnosing and managing Clostridium difficile infection, the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, and diagnosing septic arthritis. C. difficile causes big problems for hospitals and long-term care facilities, where it is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, but it's on the rise in the community too. During this session taking place July 29 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Dr. Carey-Ann Burnham of Washington University in St. Louis will review current C. difficile testing algorithms and emerging treatments.

Antimicrobial resistance is another very troubling challenge in healthcare, and during the same session Dr. Christopher Doern of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond will give attendees a thorough review of resistance trends. Finally, Dr. Susan Butler-Wu of the University of Washington in Seattle will look at the diagnostically challenging condition, septic arthritis.

Dr. Doern will address another microbiology topic, validating matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) method for bacterial identification, as part of an afternoon Short Course offering real world examples of validating lab-developed tests (74220). During this session on July 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Dr. Doern will describe the role MALDI-TOF MS plays in bacterial identification, before going on to describe how to go about validating this technology.

MALDI-TOF MS and its role in bacterial identification also will be the subject of two Brown Bag presentations by Dr. Mari DeMarco of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In two sessions on July 28 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (42114 and 52214) Dr. DeMarco will look at how MALDI-TOF MS has simplified and expedited the process of identifying pathogens, and discuss what it takes to implement this great new technology.

Despite the considerable resources devoted to addressing it both at individual institutions and through research, sepsis remains a very troubling infectious disease, affecting more than 750,000 individuals each year in the United States, with alarmingly high mortality rates ranging from 25 to 50%. An afternoon Symposium (32219) on July 28 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. will take an in-depth look at state-of-the-art sepsis care, as well as the impact of emerging technologies on the management of septic patients. A trio of experts, Dr. Nathan Ledeboer of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Madison, and Drs. Stephen Kahn and Ethan Sterk of Chicagoland's Loyola University Health System will discuss current evidence about treating this serious condition, from goal-directed therapy and strategies for early identification of sepsis to new technologies for identifying bacteria and yeast in positive blood cultures and the impact of rapidly identifying resistance markers on important clinical parameters.

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