It was a great trip down to Florida this year. AGBT 2015 was an exciting event with lots of great presentations. For us in this tightly-knit community it is an excellent networking opportunity to catch up with existing clients and partners, but also to make new connections.
Now, it is impossible to reflect on all the great talks. We were wowed by excellent research and the most recent findings. AGBT 2015 had four days full of premium research content. I am sure we all had our favorites. Here is a short list of talks that I found very entertaining:
1. Chris Mason, Weill Cornell Medical College: “City-Scale DNA, Dynamics , Disease Surveillance, and Metagenomics Profiling”. In 20 minutes he reassured me that my mom really loved me, when she said many moons ago that we kids should play outside in the mud. Now, he takes it a bit further by recommending to roll our little ones like “sushi on the floor of the New York subway”. All that to build up their immune system (Chris, I will go ahead and do that with my soon-to-be thirteen year old son, just to cover all bases. I will refer him to you should any questions come up though). Anyways, awesome talk, great content and super funny delivery.
2. Beth Shapiro, University of Santa Cruz: “The Evolutionary Consequences of Interspecies Hybridization: Insights from Brown and Polar Bear Genomes”. One of the benefits of next-gen sequencing is that we now know that Brown and Polar Bears interbreed. Apparently, this has been going on for quite some time – like for thousands of years. Well, we were suspicious for a while (see Fig 1). But now we know!
3. David Epstein, ProPublica “Dangerous Dichotomies “How Sports Harm Genetic Research”. Certainly, one of the highlights of the conference. In 30 entertaining minutes, David proved that we really don’t need scientific results to write a book about genetics in sports and give a presentation about the same subject at a scientific conference. While the search for the “world class athlete”-gene has not resulted in anything, David pointed us towards a few other areas that are worth researching further e.g. the having 20-12 vision or better in baseball. He delivered his speech exceptionally well.
Thanks again to the organizers of AGBT 2015 for putting together a fantastic program. I came back with many impressions and new information that are relevant for us as a company. I plan to blog about some of the topics such as “Advances in cancer research” and our quest towards “Precision Medicine” in the next few months.