ESHG 2015: Promoting the importance of genomics education

The GEP team enjoyed a jam-packed four days at the European conference

It was all trains, planes and automobiles as the HEE Genomics Education Programme (GEP) team headed up to Glasgow for the 49th annual European Human Genetics Conference on 6-9 June, writes Áine Kelly.

Along with around 3,000 other delegates and exhibitors, we braved choppy weather, cancelled flights, and coach replacement services to network with the great and the good from human genetics and genomics.

Delegates from across Europe and as far afield as the US, China, Russia, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia came to our exhibition stand to talk about the GEP’s strategy, progress so far, and future plans. Many were actively trying to establish similar initiatives in their respective countries, acknowledging the important need for education and training in genomics for health professionals.

We also met many UK-based clinicians and healthcare scientists keen to find out about the programme’s activities, in particular our online courses and the upcoming Master’s in Genomic Medicine. There was an incredible sense of excitement around genomics generally and in particular the 100,000 Genomes Project. Many had attended Sunday’s enlightening session with Genomics England’s Mark Caulfield and 23andme’s Anne Wojcicki, each giving their take on ‘My vision on Genomic Medicine’.

Members of the GEP team went along to this and several other sessions over the course of the conference, covering such topics as challenges in genetic counselling, the ethical considerations of genomic sequencing, and a lively panel debate that asked ‘Should all geneticists have their genome sequenced?’ You can view updates from these and other ESHG presentations on our Twitter feed.

We also exhibited a poster at the conference, outlining the approach we’re taking to help ensure the NHS workforce has the capability and capacity to harness the potential of genomics. A4 print-outs of the poster proved popular with delegates, and we were pleased to see that most of our stock was taken away.

So, despite the wind, rain and travel trouble at the start of the weekend, the summer sunshine broke through and we were treated to a bright and breezy finish to the conference. Thanks to all those who helped make it a fascinating four days, and if you want to follow up with any questions for the team, please do send us an email.

Áine Kelly is Education Resources Commissioning Editor with HEE’s Genomics Education Programme