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Accelerating Innovation in 21st Century Biosciences Conference


This conference has already ocurred. However, the "Full Conference Report" and "Measurment Challenges to Innovation in the Biosciences: Critical Roles for NIST" documents, are available.

Conference Report Cover    Measurement Challenges Report Cover

Full Conference Report            Critical Roles for NIST

Conference Overview

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI) are co-hosting this international conference. The symposium and workshops are focused on identifying and prioritizing measurement, standards, and technology needs that represent barriers to innovation and impediments to achieving maximal societal and economic benefits of new discoveries in the biosciences.

Conference Description

To Identify and prioritize measurement, standards and technology barriers to the realization of optimal economic and broad societal benefit from new discoveries in the following focus areas:

Agriculture • increasing yield, quality, & safety in the world’s food supply
Energy •  obtaining sustainable energy from biological sources
Environment • understanding our planet through linking molecules to ecosystems
Manufacturing • obtaining higher quality products through better bioprocess measurements
Medicine • improving health through measurement of complex biological signatures
Hot Topics Session (1) (2) • addressing unrecognized, overlooked, underestimated, and often ignored measurement needs in the biosciences

Expected Outcome:

A listing of measurement, standards, and technology needs to inform and guide research at NIST and the measurement and standards community worldwide.


Plenary Symposium with lectures from visionary bioscience thought-leaders discussing future trends and measurement, standards and technology needs in the conference focus areas workshops to identify & prioritize measurement, and standards challenges impeding innovation in focus areas.

The conference will consist of a one-day Symposium of plenary presentations focused on bioscience-related areas with great potential for economic and overall societal benefit. Following the symposium, measurement and standards challenges representing significant barriers to innovation in each of the focus areas will be identified and prioritized through specific technical panels during the course of the multi-day workshop.


National and international experts from industry, academia, and government focused on the broad spectrum of measurement and standards needs in the biosciences.


Science Policy Panel Session

Laurence Besley, Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Australia
Timothy Hall, Directorate General for Research, European Commission
Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), USA
João Jornada, Department of the Development, Industry and Exterior Commerce, Brazil

National Metrology Institute Directors Panel Session

Kwang Hwa Chung, KRISS, Korea
Pat Gallagher, NIST
Alejandro Herrero, EC JRC-IRMM
Anna Hills, NPL, UK
James McLaren, NRC INMS, Canada
Marc Pieksma, NMi, The Netherlands

Focus Area Plenary Presentations

AGRICULTURE - Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak, UC Davis, USA; Authors of "Tomorrow's Table"

ENERGY - Anna Palmisano, U.S. Depatment of Energy, USA

ENVIRONMENT - Stephen Weisberg, So. California Coastal Water Research Project Authority, USA

MANUFACTURING - James Thomas, Amgen, USA

MEDICINE - Lee Hood, Institute for Systems Biology, USA


From our stakeholders:

"If the developing national consensus is that new scientific discoveries and technologies will lead the way to the new economy and ensure a prosperous future for all of us, the challenges that lie on our path are standards and metrology measures required to industrialize these new discoveries that bring with them immeasurable social and societal benefits in energy, medicine, manufacturing and agriculture......."


"Addressing the environmental issues of the 21st Century requires new measurement systems that collect information from the molecular to the ecosystem level. At the NIST Conference “Accelerating Innovation in 21st Century Biosciences” challenges that must be addressed to ensure the new information is accurate, reliable and has an acceptable level of uncertainty will be identified and evaluated."


"Analytical testing plays a key role in bioproduction development, optimization and monitoring. With the move to "quality-by-design" approaches, the number of samples presented for analysis in a bioproduction environment is increasing significantly. Add to that the inherent complexities of biopharmaceuticals and one can see how new analytical methods that provide a high degree of characterization in a minimum of time are of vital importance. Conferences like this are important opportunities for Waters Corporation to take a lead role in developing new technologies and methods that will meet these challenges."

Jeffrey Mazzeo, Ph.D., Biopharmaceutical Business Director, Waters Division


• Through a strategic partnership, the NCI, a world leader in cancer biology, diagnosis and treatment, and NIST, a builder and user of world-class, state-of-the art instrumentation, will be well positioned for success in our collective efforts to develop cutting edge advanced biomedical technologies. Our collaboration will ensure sustained achievements with a long-term impact on biomedical research and will provide dynamic cross-sector multi-disciplinary training for our research fellows and the future scientific leaders.

• The complementary expertise of the NCI and NIST allows for the creation of dynamic collaborative research teams capable of proposing, building, and testing of cutting edge biomedical instrumentation and technologies.

• NIST, with its world-class metrology facilities, standardization capabilities and technical expertise in the physical sciences, complements NCI’s biological expertise and is an ideal partner. Together, we will advance biomedical research and develop new health care technologies.

• The partnership between NIST and NCI is uniquely positioned to improve existing medical imaging devices and develop the next generation of these instruments by permitting the quantitation of imaging and the development of test phantoms for determining equipment stability and accuracy.


The American Autoimmune Related Diseases association (AARDA) is providing support for this important landmark meeting. We are particularly interested in the antibody standardization workshop. Nearly every living American is impacted by in vitro diagnostic (IVD) testing in the clinical laboratory. Diagnostic tests that enable life-saving treatments through medical laboratory testing are a critical part of healthcare. Cancer, autoimmune diseases and certain forms of stroke and heart disease associated with autoantibodies affect millions of people and are a huge economic drain on the health care infrastructure. In many cases, accurate determination of autoantibodies is an essential part of diagnosis. Today, there is a considerable variability in autoantibody testing resulting in either misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, both of which have serious implications for patients and their physicians.

No clear numbers exist on the cost of errors for repeat laboratory measurement in U.S. health care. However, the German Health Report of 1998 ( states explicitly that the costs of repeat measurement amounts to 1.5 billion US $ per year in Germany. If normalized to the U.S. GDP for that year, these costs would be $7.4 billion Even modest improvements in measurement accuracy and quality assurance will result improved diagnostic accuracy and multi-billion-dollar savings in healthcare costs.

We hope that this workshop will initiate an ongoing project at NIST to standardize antibody test for the benefit of all patients.     

Virginia Ladd President American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association




Start Date: Sunday, October 19, 2008
End Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Location: Gaithersburg, MD
Audience: Industry, Government, Academia
Format: Conference


  • American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA)
  • Aspen Technology, Inc.
  • Energetics
  • Human Genome Sciences
  • John Hopkins University
  • Montgomery County Maryland Department of Economic Development
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI)
  • U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)
  • Waters Corporation


Registration is closed!

Registration Contact:

Registration is closed!

Technical Contact:

Conference Co-Chairs
Jennie Hunter-Cevera, UMBI
Willie May, NIST

Organizing Committee
Michael Amos, NIST
Jason Boehm, NIST
Judith Britz, Britz Consulting
Gary Brooker, Johns Hopkins University Microscopy Center
William Heetderks NIBIB/NIH
Fred Holland, Hollings Marine Laboratory/NOAA
Craig Jackson, Consultant
Robert Kaarls, President of CCQM and Secretary of CIPM
George Klee, Mayo Clinic
Helen Parkes, LGC
Terry Purkable, JHU/APL
Sara Radcliffe, BIO
Frederick Razzaghi, Consultant
Theodore Roumel, UMBI
James Serum, Scitek Ventures
Tamas Torok, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Keith Webber, FDA

General Conference Information

Vendor Contact:

For local NIST and Gaithersburg, MD information:

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