Countdown to Beantown: DNAnexus at Festival of Genomics

Next week we’ll be at Festival of Genomics in Boston, to join the three-day celebration of all things genomic! The Festival covers a broad range of topics; exploring new research, technology, and groundbreaking advancements in medicine. We’re excited to hear from the stellar lineup of speakers, such as renowned New York Times columnist, Carl Zimmer, providing journalistic perspective from the genome beat, and Diana Bianchi, from Tufts University School of Medicine, discussing prenatal testing in the genomics era. Like all good festivals, we mustn’t forget to take advantage of the full spectrum of attractions, including posters, workshops, exhibitors, technology forums, and more.

We’re particularly excited to showcase how the DNAnexus Platform has been powering precisionFDA. To date, more than 1,500 community members from 600 organizations are using the precisionFDA platform to help shape precision medicine. Members of the precisionFDA team will be at the DNAnexus booth to demo and answer questions about this community platform for NGS assay evaluation and regulatory science exploration.  

The announcement of the winners of precisionFDA’s second challenge, the Truth Challenge, will also be announced at the festival.  Genomic innovators were invited to participate by testing their informatics pipelines on two datasets: the well-characterized Genome in a Bottle’s NA12878 and a new reference sample HG002, of which the results were unknown. Truly a once in a blue moon challenge, the competition was fierce as thirty-five participants from around the world submitted entries. Join us for the announcement and help us congratulate the winners! 

Announcement of the Winners of the precisionFDA’s Truth Challenge
pFDAPresenter: Elizabeth Mansfield, PhD, Deputy Officer Director for Personalized Medicine, OIR/CDRH/FDA
When: Wednesday, June 29th at 9:00am – Main Stage

Additionally, during the Genomic Medicine track, our own Andrew Carroll will speak on the many factors involved when taking genomic data and medical applications global.

Taking Genomic Medicine Worldwide   


Presenter: Andrew Carroll, PhD, VP Science, DNAnexus
When: Tuesday, June 28th at 12pm
Where: Genomic Medicine Track




Finally, we have a bevy of activities with DNAnexus and our partners. Check out our full list of booth activities below:


We hope you join in our excitement as we gear up for the ultimate genomic gathering! Don’t forget to come say hello to the DNAnexus team and receive a demo of the DNAnexus Platform at Booth #240.

At Bio-IT World: Technological Innovation Advancing Genomic Science and Medicine

2Bio-IT World Conference & Expo comes early this year (April 4-7th), where more than 3,000 researchers, life science, pharmaceutical, clinical, and IT professionals descend upon Boston.  If you’re headed to Bio-IT World, please stop by the DNAnexus booth (#317) to explore and discuss our latest projects, new datasets, and tools.

This year, Big Data is a featured theme at the event. Our friend and collaborator, Dr. Taha Kass-Hout (Chief Health Informatics Officer and Director of the FDA’s Office of Health Informatics) kicks off the Big Data: Sharing vs. Privacy vs. Security in Healthcare session (Track 3, Thursday at 2:00pm) with an overview of precisionFDA, the new community platform for NGS assay evaluation and regulatory science exploration. Additional fascinating talks follow: John E. Mattison (Co-Chair, eHealth Workgroup, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health) will present emerging initiatives from the GA4GH and Robert Grossman (Director, Center for Data Intensive Science) will discuss large-scale data commons for genomic and clinical data.  The final session includes those experts along with John M. Conley (Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson), Andrew K. Porter (Merck & Co.), and Mollie Shields-Uehling (SAFE-BioPharma Assoc.) for a panel discussion looking at data sharing innovations and the regulatory environment.

Best_Practices_Logo_2016_finalist-blue (1)Precision medicine continues to be a strong theme for 2016, bolstered by President Obama’s recent Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Summit. At DNAnexus, we like to think of genetic data as the original Big Data, and we are passionate about Big Data’s role in advancing medical discovery and treatments. We are proud to announce that precisionFDA is a Bio-IT World Best Practice Award finalist.  The Best Practice Award highlights outstanding examples of how technological innovation can be powerful forces of change in the life sciences.  The precisionFDA platform was developed under contract for the FDA by DNAnexus, and currently provides over 1,000 users from nearly 500 organizations in the genomics community a sandbox for NGS assay evaluation and regulatory science exploration.  Be sure to be there when the winners are announced live on Wednesday, April 6th at 9:30am.

Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, Chief Health Informatics Officer and Director of FDA’s Office of Health Informatics, will be making a cameo appearance at the DNAnexus booth to answer questions and showcase the precisionFDA platform.  Learn how precisionFDA is leveraging community participation to advance regulatory science in the area of next-generation sequencing – DNAnexus is proud to have collaborated with the FDA to develop the community platform.  

PrecisionFDA Demo & Dr Taha Meet & Greet at the DNAnexus Booth (#317)

  • Wednesday, April 6th at 10:00am-11:00am
  • Wednesday, April 6th at 5:30pm-6:30pm

DNAnexus Booth (#317) Activities
Unite your workflows. DNAnexus offers end-to-end tailored solutions. We’ll be demoing a few upstream and downstream partner options at our booth:  Sapio
Sciences LIMS, Pacific Biosciences tools, and WuXi NextCODE Cloud platform.    

Wednesday, April 6th
3:25pm Sapio’s Exemplar NGS LIMS Demo
See how the integration of the DNAnexus platform with Sapio Sciences’ LIMS solution is enabling seamless integration with bioinformatics operations, enabling secure scalability and flexible workflows.

Thursday, April 7th
10:00am WuXi NextCODE Cloud Demo
Learn how the WuXi NextCODE Cloud — powered by DNAnexus — is accelerating the use of genomics to benefit patients worldwide. China cloud solution now available.

1:20pm PacBio de novo Assembly & SV Analysis Tools Demo
Demo the latest PacBio tools on the DNAnexus platform. See how complex bioinformatics is made simple.

Must-See Presentations
We’re proud to support our customers who push the envelope in advancing genomic science and medicine.  Be sure not to miss these talks!

Track 3 Software Applications & Services:  Regeneron Genetics Center’s  Use of the DNAnexus Annex in the Amazon Cloud for Large-Scale NGS Downstream Compute
Presenter:  Christopher Sprangel, Director, IT, Human Genetics, Genome Informatics, Regeneron Genetics Center and Nathan Wallace, Founder & CEO, Turbot
When:  Wednesday, April 6 at 2:25pm

Track 3 Software Applications & Services:  Featured Presentation: precisionFDA
Presenter:  Taha A. Kass-Hout, MD, MS, Chief Health Informatics Officer & Director, Office of Health Informatics, FDA
When:  Thursday, April 7 at 2:00pm

Track 3 Software Applications & Services: Panel Discussion:  How will data sharing innovations fare in the regulatory environment?
Moderator:  John M. Conley, JD, PhD, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson
Panelists:  Robert Grossman, PhD, University of Chicago, Taha A. Kass-Hout, MD, MS, FDA, John E Mattison, MD, Kaiser Permanente, Andrew K. Porter, Merck & Co., and Mollie Shield-Uehling, SAFE-BioPharma Association
When:  Thursday, April 7 at 3:30pm

To learn more about DNAnexus and see a demo of the DNAnexus Platform, visit booth #317 in the exhibit hall at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo.

The Journey to Precision Medicine

A Recap of the 9th Annual Future of Genomic Medicine Conference

IMG_7411The Future of Genomic Medicine IX conference took place last week in the perpetually sunny La Jolla, California. The broad goal of this annual conference is to elevate the practice of genomic medicine by making it more precise, individualized, and effective. Key areas of focus for this year’s conference included cancer detection, rare disease genomics, and the exciting area of gene editing.

The meeting began each day with a biographical case study – a patient interviewed on the stage by Dr. Eric Topol, who organized and led the conference.  Friday’s story came from Dardanel Robinson, who shared the tragedy and sadness of growing up surrounded by sudden and unexpected death. She witnessed family members — great-aunts and uncles, cousins, and even her father – all succumb to an early and unexpected death.  She lived each day wondering what the future held for her and her six children. It wasn’t until the death of her 26 year-old son Daniel, that Robinson decided to seek answers. Via the Scripps Translational Science Institute Molecular Autopsy Study, she learned that  her son carried a genetic variant predisposing to sudden cardiac arrest. Robinson also found out she was a carrier as well.  There are still many unknowns, but at least now Robinson is armed with the knowledge of her family’s electrical rhythm defect and is taking preventative steps to reduce her family’s risk of sudden cardiac arrest. You can read more about Robinson’s story here.

Scripps packs a long list of speakers; inspiring individuals who are disrupting the genomics industry and changing the face of healthcare. Harvard geneticist George Church spoke about how reversing age in a number of different animals has been demonstrated in his lab and it’s only a matter of time that we translate this into larger animals and humans. Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, discussed the company’s pivot into therapeutics. By leveraging the data of more than 1.2 million 23andMe customers, the company’s researchers are looking into their own drug discovery programs.  They hope to  engage customers and look at genomic and phenotypic data for effective and efficient drug discovery.

I was especially excited to hear from speakers how the DNAnexus platform is advancing their work.

Charles Chiu, associate professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF, talked about using genetic sequencing to identify potentially treatable infections in acutely ill patients. As part of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM), the project aims to expand the reach of this genetic testing approach to identify infectious diseases throughout the UC hospital system. DNAnexus is proud to support Dr. Chiu’s efforts; an analytic pipeline that allows samples and sequences from different hospital locations to be processed securely and compliantly in the cloud.

David Ledbetter, Chief Scientific Officer at Geisinger Health System (GHS), provided an update on the inspiring work Geisinger and Regeneron have done in integrating genetic and electronic health records (EHR) data.   Dr. Ledbetter discussed the anticipated clinical volume associated with the first 250,000 patients whose exomes will have been sequenced by Regeneron Genetics Center on the DNAnexus Platform. The GHS is unique in that it has a relatively isolated patient population containing nearly 20 years retrospective longitudinal EHR data.  Out of 250,000 participants, Dr. Ledbetter expects to identify around 5,000 individuals that are carrying pathogenic variants. From these 5,000 participants, Geisinger expects to be able to identify 15,000 ‘at risk’ relatives. Among the implications, Dr. Ledbetter advised that there is a need to have enough genetic counselors in the GHS to advise 20,000 on the consequences and probability of developing or transmitting an inherited disorder. This is an ambitious goal, but not one to be discounted, Geisinger has been at the leading edge of healthcare practices for decades (e.g. Open Notes: the sharing of physician notes with patients).

During the first week of March, Geisinger and Regeneron published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine where their geno/pheno integration approach revealed a genetic variant that appears to reduce levels of triglycerides and lower the risk of coronary artery disease. We are very proud of the fact that the success of this approach is enabled by DNAnexus, our secure and powerful genome informatics and data management platform that allows for the seamless data integration and distributed collaboration of multiple stakeholders.  Our Chief Medical Officer, David Shaywitz, shares his thoughts on this exciting research here.

One thing is abundantly clear: after two days of insightful and progressive talks, genomic medicine is reaching a point where the accumulated knowledge obtained by research is beginning to hit critical mass.  All the pieces – patient partnerships, EHRs, genomics, policy, Big Data – are coming together to drive precision medicine out of the research environment and into the clinic.