ashg-2016October is creeping up on us, and this can only mean one thing: the world’s largest genetics show will be rolling into town once again. This year Vancouver, Canada, will play host to eight thousand geneticists from around the world, all gathered for the annual meeting of the American Society for Human Genetics. Ahead of the shindig in Vancouver, Joseph McInerney, the society’s Executive Vice President, Scientific Program Manager Lucia Barker and Nalini Padmanabhan, Communications Manager, let us in on some of the new developments for this year’s meeting, and how the society is working to serve the evolving needs of the genomics community.

“ASHG is the largest genetics professional society in the world,” explains Joe. “We were founded in 1948, and the society and the meeting have both grown to an extraordinary degree since that time.” Much of the growth in the last decade has been powered by the explosion in genetics and genomics, Joe says, from the basic science right through to clinical applications.

“So the meeting is really an opportunity for our members and other individuals in genetics or associated fields to come together to share top quality science and have it vetted as part of the normal processes of science, to have their work vetted in a public setting.”

The massive growth of the sector brings with it a new challenge: how to make sure that people who use genetics, but may not class themselves as ‘geneticists’ remain an included and active part of the community? As Joe explains, ASHG is making a “conscious effort” to engage with non-genetics societies to bring these scientists and health practitioners into the community. “We have collaborated with the American Physiological Society, a society founded in 1887, to put together a joint symposium taking place on the first day of the ASHG meeting.”

For more information on what to expect from ASHG 2016, check out our preview of the event on page 18 of the latest issue of Front Line Genomics magazine