Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome: Xconomy to Convene Leaders of New Era in Personalized Medicine

12/9/10Follow @xconomy

An incredible innovation story has been unfolding the past few years in DNA sequencing, giving rise to one of today’s grand challenges of computing. New DNA sequencing tools in development are said to have enough horsepower to decipher the complete 3-billion-letter signature of an individual’s DNA for under $1,000, and possibly with as little as 15 minutes of crunching. If this can truly be done on a large scale, scientists say it could clear the way for a more personalized brand of medicine.

We are fortunate in Seattle to live in one of the few places on Earth with the necessary cluster of computing and life sciences talent that it will take to put together this puzzle. That’s why I’m thrilled to say today that Xconomy will bring together world leaders from the Northwest, and from the San Francisco Bay Area, for a truly special half-day summit on February 7 called “Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome.”

This will be a star-studded event from beginning to end, featuring interactive conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors. Here’s the lineup of confirmed speakers.

Leroy Hood, the co-founder and president of the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle

Cliff Reid, co-founder and CEO, Mountain View, CA-based Complete Genomics

Eric Schadt, chief scientific officer, Menlo Park, CA-based Pacific Biosciences

Jim Karkanias, senior director, applied research and technology, Microsoft Health Solutions, Redmond, WA

Deepak Singh, senior business development manager, Amazon Web Services, Seattle

Rowan Chapman, partner, Menlo Park, CA-based Mohr Davidow Ventures

Andreas Sundquist, co-founder and CEO, Palo Alto, CA-based DNANexus

Ilya Kupershmidt, co-founder and VP of products, Cupertino, CA-based NextBio

Rob Arnold, president, Seattle-based Geospiza

Tim Hunkapiller, Seattle-based consultant, Life Technologies

Of course, this wouldn’t be a realistic conversation without talking about the barriers standing in the way of a future based on genomic medicine. There are still immense challenges to be confronted before this vision can become reality. For starters, the genomic data will need to be stored, secured, backed up, analyzed, and visualized in order for it to live up to its promise.

Still, many of today’s high-tech leaders, including Amazon and Microsoft, see big opportunities in helping overcome those challenges through their cloud computing technologies. And while an earlier generation of entrepreneurs struggled to build businesses around software for managing genomic data, a new wave of startups is emerging to tackle the challenge anew.

This without question will be one of the biggest innovation stories in the world over the coming decade, with the potential to forever change the way we think about health and wellness. It’s often said that we as journalists get a front row seat to history in the making. I feel like this is one of those moments, and I feel privileged to invite you to come meet the newsmakers in person, and to pepper them with a few questions of your own about how this is supposed to go from concept to reality.

This event will take place from 2 pm to 6 pm on Monday, February 7, at Swedish Medical Center’s James Tower Auditorium. You can find more information and reserve a seat here at the registration page. See you there on February 7.

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