The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponement of many major scientific conferences planned for this spring. One conference that did take place was Pittcon 2020 (Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy). Held February 29 through March 5 in Chicago, Illinois, Pittcon 2020 took place before new advisories were issued, enabling a face-to-face gathering of chemists, biologists, technology developers and lab equipment vendors.

Put on by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, Pittcon 2020 was co-sponsored by the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh. The conference covers a wide range of fields with an emphasis on the latest developments in applied research. Presentation topics included food safety, cannabis analysis, environmental testing, materials science and drug development.

Dr. Nel Dando, current vice president and Pittcon 2021’s president, spoke to IBO about the impact of the outbreak on the conference and plans for next year.

In your opinion, what were a couple of the highlights of this year’s Pittcon?

Even facing major headwinds (i.e. Covid-19) we had a good turnout (over 9,000) at the conference.

Can you describe any of the early feedback you received about the show from attendees?

Attendees were delighted that we stayed the course and held Pittcon 2020, enabling them to have direct access to our exhibitors, short courses and technical program.

How would you characterize the impact of the coronavirus on Pittcon 2020?

Covid-19 concerns had a big impact on Pittcon 2020 regarding both international and national exhibitors and attendees. We communicated minimal contact policies and placed hand sanitizer stations throughout the halls.

What changes can attendees expect next year in the scientific program?

The scientific program will run from Sunday, March 7 through Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. We are working to better harmonize our Short Course, Technical Program and Networking offerings to minimize timing conflicts, so that our attendees can derive the most benefit during Conference week.

How do you plan to grow the show in the future?

We offer an amazing array of opportunities for folks to improve their skill sets, network with professionals in similar fields and have face-to face interactions with equipment suppliers. We are working to better communicate these opportunities to the markets we serve.

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