November sees the Association for Molecular Pathology gather in Charlotte, NC, USA to discuss the ever-changing landscape of molecular diagnostics.

AMP molecular pathologyThere are few professions impacted more by genomics than molecular pathologists. That makes the AMP annual meeting, one of the biggest dates on the genomic calendar. This year is now different, as the who’s who of the field meet in Charlotte from the 10-12th of November. Victoria Pratt is responsible for guiding this years meeting program, so we caught up with her to find out how the meeting has changed over the years and what to look out for this fall.

FLG: What is the history behind AMP? What was the intent behind the event?

VP: The Association for Molecular Pathology was founded in 1995 to provide structure and leadership to the emerging field of molecular diagnostics. Our members practice in many disciplines of molecular diagnostics; we are molecular pathologists, clinical laboratorians, clinical or basic research scientists, reagent/ instrument manufacturers, bioinformaticists, teachers, mentors, students and public servants. Together, we promote the highest quality of molecular diagnostics to improve patient care.

In the beginning, the AMP meeting was very much about bringing together individuals working in this extremely new field, to learn the very practical aspects of our day to day work. Now, we stay in front of cutting edge technology, education, and also the scientific and research developments in the field.

We will be gathering in Charlotte on November 10-12 for our 22nd annual meeting. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Big World. Molecular Medicine. One Community.” Over the years, the meeting’s size and scope has grown, but it remains a celebration of our community and their dedication to advancing the field.

FLG: How is the programme put together?

VP: The development of the AMP Annual Meeting program requires tremendous dedication and endless work by the members of the Program Committee and the AMP Staff. The Program Committee consists of the Chair, Chair-Elect, and representatives from our five membership subdivisions: Solid Tumors, Infectious Diseases, Genetics, Informatics, and Hematopathology. Additional representatives are also selected to oversee the Technical Topics portion of meeting planning. The Program Committee strives to identify topics that have practical applications for our members and are on the cutting edge of scientific technology.

Because the interests and challenges of our field can change quickly, we also build time into our schedule to hold events focusing on late-breaking issues. This year, we are hosting a Zika Symposium and a session on how laboratories can prepare for new regulations under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA), which go into effect on January 1, 2018.

FLG: What changes have you seen in the kinds of topics that are typically covered in the meeting over the years?

VP: In the early years, our meetings focused on the practical aspects of bringing new technologies into clinical practice. As the meeting has grown, we’ve turned to hosting concurrent sessions on a wide variety of topics. Attendees can now optimize their time at the meeting by attending sessions and events specific to their professional interests, including infectious diseases, inherited conditions, cancers. In addition, new and emerging technologies – including informatics – can be used to integrate diagnostic data to inform decisions on patient care. We have also seen a spectacular growth from our industry partners. New instruments, reagents, informatics and platforms that have been key to growth of Molecular Pathology.

You can find out more about AMP 2016 and read the rest of the interview on page 34 here!

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