ACMG 2018 – “There is Still So Much We Have to Learn”

This year’s ACMG conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, included a very well received first installment of TED-style talks which reflected on the evolution and impact of healthcare. All three talks delivered by Kaylene Ready (Director of Inherited Cancer and a Genetics Counselor, Counsyl), Christian Schaaf (Professor Clinical Genomics, University of Cologne), and Wendy Chung (Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University Irving Medical Center) were inspirational, and were considered a great addition to ACMG 2018. Takeaways and key messages included: “treat every patient like patient No. 1, always keeping them at the center of the work, and us working as mediators rather than as a barrier”. Image credit: @DeniseCalvert13

Some statistical numbers were eye-opening and challenging as it comes as no surprise that the community currently lacks genetic counselors (GCs), with fewer than 4,000 GCs and 2,000s medical geneticists in the US which translates to one geneticist per ~60,000 people. With new genetic tests generated every day, GCs need to take on the role of mediators. New operational solutions were discussed to address this shortcoming, and as such Kaylene Ready proposed the exploration of chatbots as alternatives to GC service delivery. While certainly an interesting suggestion, we will have to see whether the field with its customers (i.e. patients) is ready to discuss challenging genetics findings with a computer. As a result, it was suggested to decouple Continue reading

AGBT 2017, a Mix of Single Cell Genomics, Long Read Technology, and More

This year’s meeting followed the true and tested script of past AGBT installments. Similarly to last year’s conference, the technological advancements seemed to have slowed and somewhat resulting in no breakthrough announcements, while a larger emphasis was put on the scientific talks. Software analysis announcements related to secondary and tertiary sequence data analysis solutions were almost not present.


Interestingly, the much liked software demo session was mostly reduced to three open source demonstrations and a demonstration of Optalysys, a light-based sequence alignment technology. Too bad, as the software demo part provided a great opportunity to get up to speed with the latest developments across the many commercial solutions Continue reading