audience festival of genomics london

Spellbound audience at Festival of Genomics London. Photo credit: Katie Jackson

In just two weeks time the Festival of Genomics is coming home to London. At the heart of the Festival is the content, from keynotes to inspire, to lively panel discussions. To help you plan your visit (or perhaps inspire you to sign up for your free place!), here are just some of our top picks from the agenda.

Keynote charisma

Every day at the Festival begins with a dose of inspiration from the keynote stage. This year one topic dominates the headliners more than any other: genomics in healthcare. 

The first day will kick off with Sue Hill, CSO for NHS England, exploring how genomics is already beginning to transform the front lines of healthcare in the UK (January 31st, 09:55, Theatre 1). This talk in particular is a must-see for anyone wanting to hear more about progress on the 100,000 Genomes Project, and we are expecting Sue to touch on another key topic, namely the mainstreaming of genomic service delivery in healthcare.

On the healthcare front, keep an eye out on day 2 for Sir John Bell, Regius Prof, Oxford University, who will be tackling the meaty question of how genomics is shaping the healthcare of the 21st century (February 1st, 10:00, Theatre 3).

A big part of successfully integrating genomics into healthcare is how we handle all that data, and there are two data-heavy keynotes to look forward to in London. Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCODE, is a highly entertaining speaker, who combines key insights from his work on the Icelandic deCODE study with strong opinions on the best way to use data from large-scale genome projects. If you only see one speaker in London, make sure you see Kári!

Let the discussions commence!

Combine some strong opinions with a complex topic and get ready for the sparks to fly. The Festival discussion panels are often where some of the best arguments happen! After all, who can forget the Grumpy Cat extravaganza of “Your idea for a startup sucks” from FoG San Diego? This year expect extensive debate on the importance of data in precision medicine, the power of biohacking, and perhaps the most explosive of topics, editing the human embryo.

  • Making data useful: precision medicine will succeed only with connected data (January 31st, 10:40, Theatre 1)
  • Hype, health, and biohacking – what does engineering bring the biology? (January 31st, 16:40, Theatre 4)
  • Editing the human embryo, and update and discussion (February 1st, 16:20, Theatre 2)

Speaking their minds

Spread across two days and four stages, there are a wealth of talks to be inspired by at the Festival. This year speakers will be covering everything from cancer genomics to data sharing, genomics in the clinic to CRISPR, and synthetic biology to genetic counseling. Here are just some of the must-see presentations to look forward to.

  • Want to hear examples of genomics being put to work in UK healthcare? Be sure to check out Implementation of genotype-guided dosing of warfarin (January 31st, 16:55, Theatre 1) with Ana Alfirevic, Reader in Pharmacogenetics at the University of Liverpool.
  • Paul Workman, Chief Executive and President of the Institute of Cancer Research in London will be diving into one of the major clinical challenges in cancer genomics right now: tumour heterogeneity, in The Cancer Genome in 2017 (31st January, 11:05, Theatre 3)
  • Cancer Research UK will be running an interactive session called Get your hands on genomics (31st January, 11:25, Theatre 4), featuring a genetic taste test and even stratified medicine ‘hook-a-duck’!


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, be sure to check back on January 26 to find out more about our awesome exhibitors, and 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 31st January – 1st February at ExCEL London. Find out more and register for your free place!