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Techniques & Tools Liquid Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry

It’s Time to Push LC Limits Once Again

HPLC has come a long way over the years – and the HPLC symposium series has always been there to track its progress closely. It’s also there to make sure we keep moving forwards! Well known as the world-leading forum for information exchange between researchers dealing with separations in liquid phases and supercritical fluids, the expectation is for each year’s conference program to be bursting at the seams. HPLC 2017 Prague will not disappoint, covering aspects of fundamental and experimental approaches, as well as column technologies, cutting-edge applications and innovative instrumentation; as always, a large exhibition will play its essential role in the conference.

In more recent years, separations coupled with mass spectrometry have become increasingly important – and so a program track is now devoted solely to hyphenated techniques. Similarly, other new trends, such as microfluidics and nanotechnologies, have found their way into the program. Seeking out new trends – and deciding which ones are most likely to be embraced by a wider community – makes each HPLC meeting as exciting as the one before. And the chance to discuss these new trends – and forgotten fundamentals – with colleagues from around the world makes HPLC 2017 simply unmissable!

In particular, we look forward to discussing some of the challenges and trends that will affect HPLC and its proponents. In recent years, there has been a shift from conventional HPLC to ultra-high-performance LC (UHPLC), and UHPLC is now a mainstream separation technology. We expect to see further reductions in particle size, but will technology limitations allow particles below 1 µm?

We have decided that one of the main goals of the HPLC 2017 Prague symposium must be to attract the active participation of young researchers.

To push HPLC further, do we need to look to alternative column technologies or novel multidimensional methods – or both? On one hand, Gert Desmet is attempting to micromanufacture the perfect column (page 46) with the backing of a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant. Meanwhile, Peter Schoenmakers is also pushing the limits of LC with his “Separation Technology for A Million Peaks” project – thanks to another ERC Advanced Grant. Both offer wonderful fuel for discussion...

Applied sciences are crucial. Theoretical achievements without possible applications are meaningless, so we also need to explore novel applications in medicine, biochemistry, clinical chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and so on – all topics covered in the program. The rising star of previous conferences has been supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC). Though the principle is not new, advanced commercial solutions bring reproducibility and robustness, which makes SFC (especially in UHPSFC configuration) more applicable to real-world analyses. For example, emerging applications of UHPSFC-MS in lipidomics and pharma illustrate the potential for real bioanalysis of low to medium polar compounds.

It’s clear that success rarely happens overnight and few grand challenges are solved rapidly, so the future of our field also depends on its accessibility and appeal to the next generation. Therefore, we have decided that one of the main goals of the HPLC 2017 Prague symposium must be to attract the active participation of young researchers. We’re very excited that, for the first time, one of the four parallel program tracks will be devoted solely to speakers under 35 years old, along with tutorial-style lectures from top experts to boost young researchers’ know-how. The HPLC symposium has a history of supporting younger scientists in the form of awards, and we’re pleased and proud to be able to present the following: the Csaba Horváth Young Scientist Award for the best young speaker at the symposium, the Best Poster Award, and the Georges Guiochon Faculty Fellowship for excellent young scientists in liquid phase separation sciences. Of course, all of this can only benefit those who attend the event, so we are pleased that a number of travel grants will be offered by various organizations for students and young post-docs. We’ve also reduced the student’s registration fee down to only 240 euros – the lowest price for a decade.

The other three tracks in the main program include i) Fundamentals (FUN, covering research from mechanisms of mass transport phenomena to data analysis, validation and chemometrics), ii) Hyphenations (HYP, ranging from high-resolution separations-MS coupling to high-throughput data processing and bioinformatics), and iii) Applications & Instrumentation (APP, which includes a diverse portfolio of integrated –omics approaches and systems biology, clinical and environmental analysis, food analysis and/or (bio)pharmaceuticals and drug metabolism). As always, leading scientists from all over the world will present exciting and motivating plenary, keynotes, and tutorial lectures. Visit www.hplc2017-prague.org to see a continuously updated list of oral presentations.

This is just the first of several “In My View” articles that will explore the field of HPLC ahead of our meeting in Prague – we hope the opinions presented will act as ‘food for thought’. Here, it would be remiss of us not to notify you of some important dates:

January 23 – Abstract deadline for oral presentations
March 6 – Abstract deadline for the Best Poster Award and for inclusion in the preliminary program
March 20 – Deadline for early registration payment
April 17 – Deadline for poster presentations
May 1 – Deadline for regular registration payment
May 1 – Final program
June 1 – Abstract deadline for late-breaking posters
June 18-22 – We welcome you to the HPLC 2017 Prague symposium!

Prague is easily accessible from all major European cities and many overseas destinations and offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets. And we should note that the social programs will be just as exciting as the scientific one. For those who have not visited Prague before, our rich culture, historical treasures and great Czech hospitality awaits you. Those who have visited before know what to expect and we look forward to welcoming you back!

HPLC 2017 Prague takes place June 18-22 at Prague Conference Centre. www.hplc2017-prague.org

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About the Author
Michal Holčapek and František Foret

Michal Holčapek and František Foret are chairmen of HPLC 2017, Prague.

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