Festival of Genomics London 2017

Festival of Genomics London 2017

There’s a little less than a week left until the Festival of Genomics is coming home to London. At the heart of the Festival is the content, from keynotes that inspire, to lively panel discussions. To help you plan your visit, or perhaps motivate you to sign up for your free place, we’ve put together a handy guide for each of this year’s themes and some of our top picks from the agenda.

Drug Development

Human genetics now lies at the heart of drug development, enriching pipelines with validated candidates and providing decision-making tools to reduce failure rates. The field continues to thrive off of masses of research and clinical data, building evidence in target discovery, validation, patient stratification, and safety. This year, the festival focuses on aligning you with world-class strategy, as well as in-depth practical insights to make genomics count and deliver benefits to patients. 

Here you’ll get an understanding of:

  • How to transform drug discovery and development with an integrated genomics approach.
  • Using -omic platforms, molecular libraries, data resources, and AI to unravel disease complexity.
  • The potential of PGx to develop better, safer medicines. 
  • Using genetic tests to help define drug dose and choice to reduce the likelihood of adverse reactions.
  • What kinds of genomics-based predictive diagnostics academia are developing.
  • What performance can a new diagnostic achieve as a commercial product produced by a company?
  • How public healthcare will regulate and assess the cost-effectiveness of precision medicine drugs.

Top Picks 

British Heart Foundation Session: Research and Delivery in Cardiovascular Genomic Medicine
Chaired by Bernard Keavney, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Manchester
Hugh Watkins, Radcliffe Professor of Medicine and Head of Department, University of Oxford
James Ware, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Genomic Medicine, Imperial College London
Nick Morrell, BHF Professor of Cardiopulmonary Medicine, University of Cambridge
Nilesh Samani, Medical Director, British Heart Foundation

Pharmacogenetics: Safety in Numbers
Chaired by Munir Pirmohamed, David Weatherall Chair of Medicine & NHS Chair of Pharmacogenetics, University of Liverpool
Ann Daly, Professor of Pharmacogenetics, Newcastle University
Charles Cox, Head of Pharmacogenetics, GlaxoSmithKline
Krishna Prasad, Chair of Pharmacogenomics Working Party of EMA, MHRA
Mathias Leddin, Senior Data Scientist for Biomedical Information – Roche, pRED Informatics

Regulation of Genomics and Companion Diagnostics
With Ian Hudson, CEO, MHRA


Genomics in the Clinic

The CMO’s Generation Genome report focused on the need for the UK to maintain its presence as a world leader in genomic medicine. It presented a vision of genomics being integrated into the NHS within the next 5 years – highlighting the importance of tactical restructures across genetic labs in the UK, collaborations being built between stakeholders, and the education of clinical staff, patients, and the wider public.

This year, the Festival is focused on fulfilling this 5-year-vision. What do those working in clinical science, translational research, and patient-facing roles need to be aware of moving forward? How can we overcome key challenges, collaborate better, and engage with the public?

Here you can:

  • Join in on sessions mapping challenges and opportunities for integration of genomics within the NHS.
  • Understand the gap between translational implementation and sustained clinical testing. Is clinical genomics financially sustainable?    
  • View data from 10,000 representatives around the globe about public attitudes towards genomic data sharing.
  • Learn about the technical challenges facing clinical services and hear from the ACGS on the upcoming changes to address these – from an overview of quality frameworks through to educational initiatives.
  • Attend a series of sessions in association with the AGNC exploring what generation genome will mean for genetic counsellors.
  • Follow through case scenarios to understand how the process of assigning pathogenicity of a copy number variant is applied in a real setting.
  • Assess models for improving consent, enabling data analysis and reducing the time and cost associated with interpreting permissible uses of data.


Top Picks 

Can We Fully Integrate Genomics into the NHS Within 5 Years?
Chaired by Kathy Farndon, Director, Carbonel Consulting Ltd
Dominic McMullan, Consultant Clinical Genomics Scientists, West Midlands Regional Genetics Laboratory, Association for Clinical Genomics Science
Sir Malcolm Grant, Chairman, NHS England 
Mike Hubank, Head of Clinical Genomics Research, Royal Marsden Hospital 
Sobia Raza, Head of Science, PHG Foundation

For Patients, With Patients: Learning from Patient Experiences to Maximise the Benefit of Clinical Genomics 
Chaired by Beverly Searle, CEO, Unique – Understanding Chromosome & Gene Disorders 
Arti Patel, Information Officer, Unique – Understanding Chromosome & Gene Disorders 
Jillian Hastings Ward, Chair of the Participant Panel – 100,000 Genomes Project, Genomics England 
Mariana Campos, Membership and Public Engagement Manager, Genetic Alliance UK

Genomics 2017 – This Was Your Year 
Chaired by Carl Smith, Managing Editor, Front Line Genomics
Anna Middleton, Head of Society & Ethics Research, Connecting Science, Wellcome Genome Campus
David Smith, Professor of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology, Mayo Clinic
Eugene McDald, Director, Paramount Recruitment Limited.
Miika Ahdesmaki, Associate Director of Bioinformatics, AstraZeneca


Enabling Data

Data is pouring out of sequencing machines and through the cloud and pipelines around the world at rates and volumes that are challenging for the community. To mine the insights held within coordinated approaches, improvements in data handling are vital. The best practices for storing and securing data, as well as the challenges of sharing, analysing, and integrating that data in a meaningful way, are growing. 

Here you’ll learn more about:

  • How to best tackle the integration of complex biodata.
  • Exploring integrative analysis; health-record data, genetics, expression, metabolomics and imaging.
  • Selecting machine learning approaches to establish phenotype-genotype relationships and integrate multiple data types.  
  • Developing question driven datasets and integrating large datasets.
  • Data visualisation and how to navigate masses of data.
  • What the current challenges around the economy of data sharing are.
  • Business opportunities around the open-access of personal genomic data and health.  

Top Picks

Lawyers, Genes & Money: How Blockchains Can Revolutionise Genomics (and Other -Omics) 
With David Koepsell, CEO, EncrypGen, LLC

Your DNA, Your Say – Public Attitudes Towards Genomic Data Sharing
With Anna Middleton, Head of Society & Ethics Research, Connecting Science, Wellcome Campus

How Can You Start Up and Grow a Genetics Company in the UK? 
Chaired by James Peach, Precision Medicine Lead, Medicines Discovery Catapult
Fiona Nielsen, CEO, Repositive
Jo Mason, Vice President Biomarker Discovery, Cambridge Epigenetix
Kath Mackay, Interim Deputy Director of Health & Care, Innovate UK
Nick Lench, COO, Congenica
Pierre Socha, Principal, Amadeus Capital Partners
Robert Tansley, Investment Director, Cambridge Innovation Capital
Tamsin Berry, Deputy Director, Industrial Strategy & Sector Support, Office for Life Sciences
Zoe McDougall, VP Corporate and Communications, Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Designing Software for Biologists? Keep it Simple Stupid!
With Rafael Rosengarten, Chief Product Officer, Genialis



For months, CRISPR has dominated publications as being simple and easy to use, innovative and adaptable, and as offering promise for many untreatable diseases. Despite this hype, there are big questions over how close CRISPR really is to clinical use. This session at the Festival will align perspectives from research, drug development, and the clinic to evaluate what obstacles there are to the application of CRISPR in the clinic. For those working with CRISPR day-to-day, there will also be key technical updates. 

Here you’ll have the chance to:

  • Learn how Genentech are refining CRISPR as a tool for drug discovery.
  • Discover how allied technologies, like induced pluripotency, in-vitro gametes and whole genome sequencing, could unlock further potential for CRISPR in the (near!) future.
  • Assess why editing might be further from the clinic than we think – evaluating political, ethical and technical challenges.
  •  Be able to answer ‘when can we expect human heritable editing?’ and to understand some of the intricacies around techniques dealing with single vs multi-gene disorder editing.


Top Picks 

Heritable Human Genome Editing 
With Tony Perry, Reader, University of Bath

Genome Editing: A Precision Tool for Medicine? 
Chaired by Andy Greenfield, Programme Leader, MRC Harwell Institute
Alasdair Russell, Head of Pre-Clinical Genome Editing, University of Cambridge
Graham Taylor, Scientific Director, Clinical Genomics, ViaPath, King’s College London
Peter Mills, Assistant Director, Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Sarah Chan, Chancellor’s Fellow, Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh

End of the Road for Short Read Sequencing? 
With Graham Taylor, Scientific Director, Clinical Genomics, ViaPath, King’s College London


Worth Checking Out 

Pipette Wars    

Fancy a challenge? Then take part in our pipette wars competition to see if you can win the fastest pipetting time! Sponsored by Eppendorf, with their epMotion 5070, there are plenty of prizes up for grabs and it’s sure to be a highlight of the Festival.

Live Lounge

Live Lounge

Live Lounge 

Hear bite-sized insights into the latest innovative technologies and products from a range of leading solution providers.

Poster Zone

Poster and their presenters provide a great insight into the most cutting edge research going on in genomics. The poster zone of the festival provides a great place for you to interact, give feedback, and learn. Posters will be displayed at the following designated poster times: Tuesday 30th January, from 12:00pm-12:50pm & Wednesday 31st January from 12:00pm-12:45pm. 

All this is just a portion of what makes the Festival of Genomics such an exciting event. Much of the science and the innovation on display in the agenda would be impossible without the technology and solutions on offer from our exhibitors. From the sequencing machines that reveal the complexity of the genome, and the essential materials that every lab needs to function, to the software that opens up analysis to everyone. 

Make sure to check back on Friday January 26th for some handy hints on how to get the most out of your Festival experience! 


We hope you can join us at Festival of Genomics London, taking place January 30th-January 31st at ExCel London.