Starting in 2007, the NCMLS institute has organised a yearly international 'New Frontiers' symposium. The theme of each symposium differs by covering a specific topic within one of thematic areas of NCMLS. This year's symposium, entitled, Personal Genomics, was held on the 3rd and 4th of December 2012 and attracted visitors to the institute from across the world. In total about 350 people attended both days of the symposium.
The 2012 NCMLS New Frontiers symposium aimed at highlighting the advances in genomics in various biomedical research fields, as well as its implications in the clinic. The two-day symposium featured the role of genomics in health and disease, and highlighted developments towards personal genomics. The symposium constituted international keynote speakers as well as NCMLS top researchers, who provided high-quality presentations on current achievements and challenges ahead.
The symposium was officially opened by Paul Smits, Dean/Vice-chairman of the RUMC who welcomed the speakers, guests of honour and registrants.
The first speaker of session one "Normal Human Genome Variation" was Richard Durbin, Cambridge, UK. His lecture focussed on 1000 Genomes and beyond. Henk Stunnenberg from NCMLS Nijmegen, The Netherlands gave a lecture on Epigenetics: a manual for genome function and utilization followed by Peter Holland, Oxford, UK, on the evolution of genomes. The last speaker of this session was Stylianos Antonarakis, from Geneva, CH who talked about the functional connectivity of genomic elements.
The second session "Genomics in Health" included talks from André Uitterlinden, Rotterdam, The Netherlands on Genome-wide explorations in cohort studies: the example of height and was follow by Simon Fisher from Nijmegen, The Netherlands who discussed the Neurogenomics of speech and language. Jan Hoeijmakers from Rotterdam, The Netherlands talked about the key role of DNA damage in cancer, aging and longevity. He was follow by the key note lecture of James Lupski from Houston, Texas, USA, winner of this year's Bloemendal Medal. His lecture was about Personal genomes, medical genomics & clan genomics; A personal quest to identify the genetic underpinnings of Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy.
The first day closed with a great party at Landmark Wijnfort Lent with a live jazz band "De Compaenen".
Session three "Disease Genomics" was opened by Joris Veltman, UMC, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, who discussed De novo diagnostics of patients with intellectual disability. Nicholas Katsanis, Durham, USA gave an inspiring lecture on Modeling the morbid human genome follow by Cisca Wijmenga, Groningen, The Netherlands on Genomics of autoimmunity and Jose Luis Gómez-Skarmeta, CABD, Spain on Functional genomics studies to unravel development, evolution and human genetic diseases.
The fourth session "Personal genomics" was opened by Devin Locke, Knome, USA about Winding the Asklepian Wand: The advent of whole fenomes in healthcare. He was followed by Han Brunner, Nijmegen, The Netherlands about Personalised genomes: the future of medicine. The last speaker was John Burn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK with his lecture 'I've seen the future and it works.
For the second year we had a poster session during the 2 days of the Symposium. An excellent jury, has awarded three best poster prizes. They received a certificate and an amount of money.
Dutch Society for Clinical Genetics (Vereniging Klinische Genetica Nederland, VKGN) approved 9 points (3rd Dec: 5 points, 4th Dec: 4 points).
Dutch Society for Internists (Nederlandse Internisten Vereniging, NIV) approved 5 points.
Next year our seventh 'New Frontiers' symposium will be held on the 11th & 12th November 2013. This symposium will be about New Frontiers in Synthetic Life.