News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Cherry Blossom Symposium attracts pathologists from across the globe

Many of the world’s most innovative pathologists and experts in clinical laboratory automation are about to gather in Yokohama, Japan, for the 7th International of Conference of Clinical Laboratory Automation and Robotics —also known as the Cherry Blossom Symposium. The conference will take place on April 16-17, 2010.

In the United States, few clinical laboratory professionals and pathologists are aware that the Cherry Blossom Symposium takes place every other year in Japan. Yet, since its inception in 1998, it has been a “must-attend” event for North American laboratory automation innovators. Such well-known clinical laboratory automation experts as Charles Hawker, Ph.D., of ARUP Laboratories; Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D., of University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Robin Felder, Ph.D.,  of University of Virginia, make a point to participate at every Cherry Blossom Symposium.

Masato Maekawa, MD, PhD Chairman

Masato Maekawa, MD, PhD Chairman

Over the course of two days, there will be 32 presentations during 11 scientific sessions. Your Dark Daily editor, Robert L. Michel, will participate and conduct a session “How Innovative Laboratories Are Combining Laboratory Automation with Lean/Six Sigma Work Flow Redesign Methods.” Other speakers from the United States and their topics will be:

  • Petr Jarolim, M.D., Ph.D.,  Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School on “Lean, Automation, Autoverification: Effect of Sequential Interventions on Chemistry and Immunoassay Turnaround times”
  • Charles Hawker, Ph.D., of ARUP Laboratories and the University of Utah, on “A Novel Machine Vision System that Uses Optical Character Verification (OCV) to Identify Mislabeled Specimens”
  • Mark Rhodes, Life Technologies, Inc., on “SOLiD System: Automation in a Next Generation Sequencing Platform”
  • William Neeley, M.D.,  Medical Direct at DMC University Labs, on “Future Role of Radio-frequency Chips (Read/Write) to Significantly Enhance Total Laboratory Automation”
  • Robin Felder, Ph.D., Associate Director of Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology, on “Automating the Entire Laboratory Process: From Phlebotomy to Sample Storage”

It was in Japan, dating back to the early 1980s, that the first laboratory automation systems were developed by pathologists in Japan. In fact, the four pathologists who were the true pioneers of clinical laboratory automation were fondly dubbed “the four horsemen of lab automation” by their Japanese colleagues. In a future Dark Daily, we would be happy to share the stories of these four pathologists. Their work created the foundation for most of the clinical laboratory automation products sold today.

Often, the laboratory automation innovations of these four Japanese pathologists were licensed by Japanese in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers. In turn, these IVD companies took those laboratory automation solutions and incorporated them into diagnostic products and laboratory analyzers that were then sold worldwide.

Host for this year’s Cherry Blossom Symposium is the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Hamamatsu University School of Medicine. Pathologists and the clinical laboratory faculty have organized all aspects of the conference. The Chairman of the 7th Cherry Blossom Symposium is Masato Maekawa, M.D.

Should any pathologist, clinical biochemist, or laboratory professional wish to attend the Cherry Blossom Symposium, there is still room and time to register. The web site URL is This conference attracts attendees from all corners of the globe. The educational program is top-flight and the networking is superb. Every Cherry Blossom Symposium is a rich learning experience for any clinical laboratory professional with a keen interest in automation.

Related Information:

7th International of Conference of Clinical Laboratory Automation and Robotics

Agenda with speakers and topics for Cherry Blossom Symposium

Leading International Clinical Laboratory Automation Conference Announces 7th Program