Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome. Our Next Big Event in SF Oct. 24

9/14/11Follow @xconomy

The $1,000 genome is coming fast, whether society is ready for it or not. This field has moved so fast, reasonable people have estimated we will have sequenced millions of genomes within a few years. It’s even conceivable that individuals will get sequenced more than once in a lifetime, to track how their health is progressing.

As all this DNA data piles up into the stratosphere (or at least somewhere in the cloud for you computing geeks out there), how in the world will scientists be able to zero in on what’s really important to an individual’s health?

These are the kind of questions I’m getting ready to ask at Xconomy’s next big event in San Francisco, titled “Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome.” This event will be a half-day forum, from 2 pm to 6:30 pm on October 24. It will be graciously hosted by the folks at QB3, who are in the nerve center of SF biotech, at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.

This event will feature an All-star list of speakers from Complete Genomics, PacBio, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Microsoft, EMC/Isilon, Life Technologies, 23andMe, plus a number of hot computational biology startups. But since this is only our second life sciences event in San Francisco, I figure it’s worth letting folks know how the conversation—and I really mean conversation—will unfold at this event.

First off, there will be no PowerPoint presentations (speakers, and attendees, you can exhale now). Instead, I’m planning this to be a series of moderated, interactive chats, in which speakers won’t be allowed to drone on to fill up airtime, and attendees will get plenty of time ask questions.

So, here’s how the afternoon will flow:

1 pm: Networking

2 pm. Welcoming remarks by Doug Crawford, QB3

2:05 pm. Opening keynote chat: How new DNA sequencing technologies are creating computing’s next big challenge.

Luke Timmerman, Xconomy national biotech editor (moderator)

Hugh Martin, CEO, PacBio

Cliff Reid, CEO, Complete Genomics

2:40 pm. The challenges big computing companies are wrestling with in genomics

Tim Hunkapiller, consultant, Life Technologies (moderator)

Paul Rutherford, chief technology officer, EMC/Isilon

Jim Karkanias, senior director, Microsoft Health Solutions

3:10 pm. Networking break

3:45 pm. Strategies from the new wave of bioinformatics startups:

Rob Arnold, general manager, Geospiza unit, PerkinElmer (moderator)

Andreas Sundquist, co-founder and CEO, DNAnexus

Doug Bassett, chief scientific officer, Ingenuity Systems

Ilya Kupershmidt, co-founder and VP of products, NextBio

4:15 pm. How will scientists use all these genomes for personalized medicine?

David Ewing Duncan, author, “Experimental Man” (moderator)

Atul Butte, associate professor, Stanford; co-founder, NuMedii

Ashley Dombkowski, chief business officer, 23andMe

4:45 pm. Closing keynote chat. The big medical and societal implications of the $1000 genome

Thomas Goetz, executive editor, Wired (moderator)

Sue Siegel, general partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures

John Wilbanks, vice president of science, Creative Commons; director, Sage Bionetworks

5:30-6:30 pm Networking Reception.

I’ve personally been covering biotech for 10 years now, and the $1,000 genome strikes me as having the greatest potential for the kind of impact that makes the history books. I think people will look back on this time as an inflection point in healthcare and wellness. Come join this fascinating conversation, and maybe have a beer with, the people who are working to make this happen today.

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