Reflections on the 2019 Festival of Genomics conference in London


For the third year in a row, I attended the Festival of Genomics conference in London. This year saw the conference change venue, moving from the ExCel Arena to the Business Design Centre in Islington.

The new venue was notably smaller leading to many sessions being heavily overcrowded. There were also fewer 'fun' activities compared to previous years. No graffiti wall and no recharging stations (massage stands and power points for phones).

The opening keynote was given by Professor Mark Caulfield (Chief Scientist at Genomics England

From 100K to 500K

Reflecting on the completion of the 100,000 Genomes Project, Professor Caulfield revealed that the 100,000th genome was completed at 2:40 am on the 2nd December.

He also shared details that at the peak, the project was completing 6,000 genomes a month and it has now reached 103,311 genomes.

The next phase will see 500,000 genomes completed within the NHS over the next five years, with an 'ambition' to go on to sequence five million genomes.

Looking at the global picture of human genome sequencing, Professor Caulfield projected that there will be 60 million completed genomes by 2023.

I wrote more about the conference in a blog post for The Institute of Cancer Research: