17th annual USADA symposium on anti-doping science

Biomarker Discovery & Application to Doping Detection & Deterrence

The 17th annual USADA symposium on anti-doping science was held over the weekend 28th September – 1th October in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The topic of this year’s symposia was on discovery of biomarkers, alternative matrices for testing and the application to doping detection.

The symposia gathered people working in anti-doping from most parts of the world and the majority of the WADA accredited laboratories were represented at the symposia as well as WADA, many of the different NADOs and the sport federations.

Biomarkers were thoroughly discussed with special emphasis on different “omnics” approaches and application to the athlete biological passport. Alternative matrices for doping detection was also presented. Applications with hair, oral fluid, breath and dried blood spots (DBS) were discussed. Many of these matrices are very promising and could possibly add both deterrence and additional knowledge when used in combination with existing sampling procedures for urine and blood.

Several WAADS members also contributed presenation to the symposium:

  • Searching for the "magic wound": Urinary metabolomic biomarkers to detect doping Francesco Botrè, PhD - Laboratorio Antidoping FMSI
  • Advancing the steroid module of the Athlete Biological Passport Peter Van Eenoo, PhD - DoCoLab Universiteit Gent-UGent
  • Transcriptomic and ironomic biomarkers to detect blood doping Nicolas Leuenberger, PhD - Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses
  • Alternative Matrices- moving beyond urine and blood Daniel Eichner, PhD – Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory
  • Biomarkers on the [dried] spot: the power of a drop of blood Jordi Segura, PhD - IMIM Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute
  • Implementing an effective deterrence program through indirect testing methods – strategies for anti-doping organizations Larry Bowers, PhD – LD Bowers LLC


The Larry D. Bowers Excellence in Anti-Doping Science Award was given to Dr. Matthias Kamber for his lifelong achievements in both anti-doping research and as the head of Anti-Doping Switzerland. Dr. Kamber gave an inspiring talk with the title: Thinking out of the box, Lessons learnt from Science.

A social event was held on Saturday after the sessions in the 360 Chicago observation deck, one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. Food and drinks were enjoyed together with a breathtaking night view of the Chicago skyline.

Next annual USADA symposium will be held in city for the next summer Olympics; Tokyo, Japan. The symposia will be held between October 4th and 7th 2019. The meeting will be co organized with Japan Anti-Doping Agency.

USADA meeting group photo
Dr Matthew Fedoruk, Dr. Matthias Kamber and Dr Larry D. Bowers
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