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October 14, 2021 | Genomics

Highlights from the ASHG 2021 virtual conference

Missed ASHG? Not to worry. We’ve compiled the highlights for you!

1. Pre-show sequencing talk

Watch on-demand: The importance of coverage uniformity in exome sequencing

  • Speaker: Peter Hahn, Ph.D., R&D, QIAGEN

    What it’s about: Whole exome sequencing has had routine clinical utility for a decade, but different platforms provide varying levels of sequencing coverage and uniformity. How does this affect variant calling?
2. Late-breaking educational session

Altered microRNA expression in COVID-19 patients accurately identifies SARS-CoV-2 infection

Learn more about miRNA sequencing

  • Speaker: Ryan Farr, Ph.D. Host Response Team, Health and Biosecurity (H&B) at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP), CSIRO, Australia

    What it’s about: By examining the host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, we can achieve valuable insights into viral pathogenesis and COVID-19 progression. This study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 infection results in a significant host miRNA response that aligns with our current knowledge of COVID-19 induced inflammation. By using a multivariate machine learning approach, researchers have developed a robust miRNA biomarker signature of COVID-19. This signature could complement existing diagnostic tests by providing a new approach to detecting cases that might otherwise be missed.
3. Live, interactive co-lab sessions

Atila’s iSAFE 5-color Digital PCR Assay for Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) on the QIAGEN QIAcuity Digital PCR Platform

Learn more about digital PCR and QIAcuity

  • Speaker: Zhijie Yang and Youxiang Wang, Atila BioSystems, Inc, USA

    What it’s about: A digital PCR-based NIPT assay offers the simplest workflow (no library preparation needed), the fastest turnaround time (about 3 hours) and the most affordable cost. We report the first 5-color NIPT assay on the QIAcuity platform in a single reaction to simultaneously quantify chromosomes 21, 18, 13, 1, the fetal fraction, and determine the gender of the fetus.

Accelerating precision oncology programs with genomically annotated and clinically characterized biospecimens

Learn more about multimodal sequencing
Learn more about SpecimenSeq from Discovery Life Sciences

  • Speaker: Shawn Levy, Ph.D., Genomics, Discovery Life Sciences, USA

    What it’s about: Bridging a deep understanding of molecular profiles with clinical information is critical to developing innovative precision medicine tools in oncology. Discovery's recently launched SpecimenSeq product line makes this challenge easier for targeted oncology and liquid biopsy developers by delivering access to ethically collected biospecimen sets that are annotated with genomic and clinical characteristics.
4. Lightning talks

A platform for discovering immunogenic neopeptide junctions from RNA fusions for developing vaccines for the treatment and prevention of cancer

Learn more about Dr. Gunaratne’s work

  • Speaker: Preethi Gunaratne, Ph.D., Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Houston, USA

    What it’s about: Unique sequences at the junctions of fusion proteins translated from chimeric RNAs form neoantigen peptide regions that expand the potential targets for therapeutic vaccines. This talk presents a platform that provides end-to-end service for discovering validated actionable fusions that can provide biomarkers for a selection of targeted therapies in a precision medicine format and reagents for developing tumor vaccines.
5. Happy hour trivia winners

After a long virtual day of talks, we had a fun night of trivia! Check out the winners:
First place: Agnes with 17396 points
Second Places: Rhys with 16917 points
Third Place: Jacksund with 16785 points 

See if you can answer out hardest question (without cheating!). Only 6% of participants got it right:
6. On-demand co-labs

Maximizing low-input, low-quality samples for RNA-seq – from single-cell to high-throughput targeted sequencing – go further with the RNA-seq Analysis Portal

  • Speaker: Sujash Chatterjee, Ph.D., QIAGEN

    What it’s about: Learn about a new technique that allows ultra-plexing of thousands of samples per sequencing lane for accurate gene expression profiling from low-input and low-quality RNA samples. Once you’ve got your RNA-seq data, seamlessly move on to data analysis with the fully integrated, web-based RNA-seq Analysis Portal. Explore how you can go from sequence to gene expression insights in a day.

Level up with EZ2 Connect

  • Speakers: Jessica Sehr, Ph.D., QIAGEN and Jan-Niklas Schulz, Ph.D., QIAGEN

    What it’s about: Find out what the latest nucleic acid extraction instrument can do for you. How fast can your team get trained on it? Can it process all your sample types? Is it true that it will let you do your lab work even from outside the lab? Is it really possible for your lab to acquire this instrument?

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