5th Global Genomic Medicine Conference - a "Virtual" Success

In May 2020, G2MC held its 5th Global Genomic Medicine Conference, virtually. The conference was originally planned to take place in Santiago, Chile, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the G2MC leadership team made the decision to hold an abbreviated virtual conference as a prelude to the face-to-face conference, postponed until 2021. Through the tireless efforts of conference organizers and speakers, the virtual conference was executed successfully and reached far more participants than would have been possible with the in-person conference.

The virtual conference was held on May 7-8 with nearly 500 registrants from across the globe tuning in. Registrants were also able to sign up for interactive online G2MC Working Group and Flagship Project breakout sessions that were held on May 6. The virtual conference was made possible by organizing partners The Golden Helix Foundation and Universidad del Desarrollo, and sponsors Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Genometrics, Illumina, Inbiomedic, Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine, and National Human Genome Research Institute

The conference was led by organizing co-chairs Bruce Korf and Gabriela Repetto. Keynote speakers included Rafael Araos with the Chilean Ministry of Health and Clinica Alemana, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile; Teri Manolio with the National Human Genome Research Institute, USA; Andrew Sinclair with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia; and Soumya Swaminathan with the World Health Organization, Switzerland. Other researchers, healthcare providers, and leaders from across the globe also took part in the virtual conference, presenting on the innovative genomic medicine research and implementation practices they are taking part in. Additionally, many speakers took the opportunity to share how their organizations and countries are using genomic methods to address the COVID-19 response. Conference attendees were given the opportunity to engage with all speakers in panel discussions that followed each session.

Given the virtual setting, the conference was able to reach and engage participants across the globe that may not have been able to attend the in-person meeting. Because of this reach, the G2MC leadership team is considering holding another virtual conference in the fall of 2020. A date for the rescheduled in-person conference will be determined in the coming months, but will likely be scheduled for the later part of 2021 in Santiago, Chile. 

Read about lessons learned from the G2MC virtual conference in the following article:  Human genetics and genomics meetings going virtual: practical lessons learned from two international meetings in early 2020 (PDF | LinkedIn