The Next Generation of Genomics — Community-Style

Last week, Melissa Laverty, Executive Vice President of Client Services, and I had the privilege of attending the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) annual meeting where the biggest and brightest omics minds gathered to share their scientific innovations and technological advancements to improve human health. The conference hosted an impressive lineup of genomics giants, including Illumina, Pacific Bioscience, Complete Genomics and Fabric Genomics. Spectrum’s own client Quantum-Si, a protein sequencing company, showcased its benchtop protein sequencer Platinum™ at ASHG. In addition to the omics greats, the convention center hosted startups, academic journals, media outlets and more. The overarching theme of the week: community.

Whether in the exhibitor hall or a cocktail reception, the passion for sharing science was on full display. There could not have been a greater sense of camaraderie in a room of competitors. The value placed on community was highlighted when several strategic partnership were announced, including Fabric Genomics with Oxford Nanopore Technologies and DNAnexus, which plan to bring genomics into a clinical context. Fluent Biosciences’ and Singular Genomics’ new collaboration aims to bring tools to researchers at any level for a more cost-effective and efficient single-cell analysis in any lab. It was clear; we may be from different companies with different technologies, but we have the same fundamental goal: to bring the impact of genomics to everyone, everywhere.

I was reminded of this when I arrived at the ASHG party hosted by PacBio. Macklemore, the mystery guest (and the best kept secret at the conference), performed for the crowd. As I looked out at the sea of PacBio-branded pink bucket hats and bowling shirts, I was in awe. No matter who you were or what company you were from, we were all there for the same reason. As PacBio CEO Christian Henry said that evening, “We are here to build a community.”

In moments such as these, it becomes evident how powerful strength in numbers can be. Everyone present had a role to play in helping to address some of the world’s greatest challenges one genome at a time. It is conferences such as ASHG that remind us how important community is to cultivating relationships and partnerships. Without them, we couldn't have made the strides in genomic research that we have over the past 75 years since ASHG was established.

And participating in ASHG this year affirmed for me the essential role Spectrum plays in the next generation of genomics. We are here to tell the stories. And every powerful story we tell brings us that much closer to integrating the power of genomics everywhere, for everyone.

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