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Feeling the Love at #PAGXXIII

Cindy Taylor Lawley, Ph.D.
| Jan 11, 2015

I do  LOVE starting my year off at PAG- and this one is very special for me. I have transitioned from running our Consortia (thank you Jason Downing) to a role in Market Development. This means that rather than having to  require air traffic control to coordinate my flights from room to room during the meeting, I can relax and take in all the new research and publications that are using Illumina technology. I can actually spend my breakfasts, lunches and dinners talking to folks about what they envision for the future. Perhaps modulating my coffee intake to align to my new relaxed PAG-self would be wise…one step at a time!

There are so many new and creative uses of our technology. Typically, people expect that where human research goes, other organisms will follow. I have observed that some lessons in SNP selection and array development in human populations are actually leveraging lessons learned in agricultural genomics. We have been considering cross-breed, functional, and imputation-friendly algorithms in agrigenomics for years. Our Multi-Ethnic Genotyping/GWAS Array leverages an understanding of across-and within-population diversity. We are excited to facilitate that cross-talk among researchers, so look for our Genotyping Specialist, Estelle Giraud at the front of the exhibit hall.

But, back to PAG. Did you know that there is a search function for online PAG abstracts? I did a search on “Illumina” prior to coming to San Diego, and wow- just wow! It's amazing to see what a kaleidoscope of research is enabled by our sequencing technology.

I was invited to stop and visit a group of fruit genetic researchers coordinated by Nahla Bassil at Oregon State University.  I remember fondly the first time I met that group. Nahla always says “I do not make the purchasing decisions. It is a group decision and so I just bring forward the information”. I love how she has led that community. The cooperation is fantastic, and the communication about how to handle each fruit breeder’s interests among possible projects seems to be quite transparent. I so admire this trait among agriculture researchers where groups work well together, rooted in common goals. I find that the RosBREED and Fruitbreedomics groups are a model for how to do just this. Every dollar is precious and there is very little duplicated effort (except where validation is required for scientific merit).

I enjoyed tonight's plenary session where Philip Bourne took on many of the big questions about NIH Data/Big Data, and its implications for our research community. Surely many questions and discussion will be spurred on by this session. Tomorrow and Tuesday will be action packed as well! As always with this meeting, follow #PAGXXIII on Twitter for really awesome play-by-play of the sessions from many great folks. We @illumina and @taylorlawley will be checking in regularly!