The 11th Genomics of Common Diseases & The GCD/IGES joint symposium - Big Data Analytics for Genetics in Personalised Medicine’

I had the pleasure to attend and present at this year’s ‘The 11th Genomics of Common Diseases & The GCD/IGES joint symposium - Big Data Analytics for Genetics in Personalised Medicine’ conference held at the pristine landscaped Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre and organized by the Wellcome Trust - Nature Genetics.

There were many great talks of (un-)published and “hot off the press” wet lab and in silico research all focused on various complex diseases.  There were, however a few highlights.  Starting with Visscher, P.M and Yang, J’s study where they leveraged UKBiobank (UKB) GWAS data and found negative selection acts ubiquitously on human complex traits; followed by Marchini, J. and colleagues who elegantly showed that by joining genetic and brain imagining datasets from the UKB they could find >1,200 associations with which they can start to unravel the genetic basis
of brain structure and function; finalizing with Kári Stefánsson’s presentation where he walked through a few examples of how deCODE has contributed to current common disease genetics; ending with a thought-provoking statement of the current sad state of people/population groups unwillingness to give genetic information/DNA to maintain current genetic and/or drug targeted studies that are indispensable to the improvement of our health systems – this was exemplified by all research showcased at the conference which heavily relied on previously collected genetic information.

During the second part of the symposium, I would be remiss to not mention George Davey Smith’s great presentation of Mendelian randomization (MR) where he presented the various uses of MR analysis such building a causal map of the human phenome through MR.  In addition, he broadcasted the astonishing ‘MR of everything vs everything’ repository (eve.mrbase.org) and culminated his presentation with the take-home message that MR analysis is easy and that the challenge now lies in finding its biological meaning.

Aside from the presentations, the onsite lodging and conference’s small size was conducive to promoting a relaxed environment – especially during mealtimes, where I met a gamma of researchers and had lots of discussions on our respective research topics and comments of conference presentations.

LMV

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