Immunogenomics 2016 opening keynote address

Keynote to address interactions among all genomes in the microbiome.

Immunogenomics is a mural of scientific disciplines. The field draws together a wide range of areas, including immunology, microbiology, virology, genetics, autoimmune disease, cancer, informatics, molecular biology, epigenomics and biochemistry. These diverse specialties converge like tiles to provide a panoramic view of the future of human health.

With so many subjects coming together in immunogenomics to create the full picture, collaboration among researchers is critical for advancing the field, according to Herbert “Skip” Virgin, MD, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis.

Virgin is the opening keynote speaker for Immunogenomics 2016. The conference, to be held September 26-28 on the campus of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, will bring together immunogenomics leaders and researchers to explore the application of genomic technologies to better understand the immune system and immune-related disorders.

“The opportunity to bring people together who have insight within their own silos to discuss issues that are integrative in nature across different silos is important for the progression of the field of immunogenomics,” Virgin said.

Kristen Mueller, a co-organizer for the conference and a senior editor at Science, agrees. “Since the field of immunogenomics is constantly shifting and growing,” she said, “the conference is important because it brings scientists together who usually come from such different backgrounds as cell biology and genomics.”

Mueller said she is pleased that Virgin is a keynote speaker for Immunogenomics 2016. Virgin’s lab at Washington University has made significant strides toward understanding the interactions among organisms in the microbiome, according to Mueller.

“Dr. Virgin is a leader in the study of virology and the microbiome, and genomics research has led to so many new discoveries about the microbiome,” she said. “Since his work bridges those fields, we’re excited Dr. Virgin will bring his expertise to the conference.”

At Immunogenomics 2016, Virgin plans to address the scope of the microbiome and the role of transkingdom interactions within the microbiome.

“It’s important that we not assume that the microbiome is only bacteria,” he said. “The truth is, the microbiome is viruses, bacteria, fungi, worms and protists: it’s actually quite a complex world within and on our body’s surfaces. So I’m interested in how we think about identifying the important genes within all of that and how those then interact with genes in the host.”

To hear Virgin’s keynote presentation and see how his microbiome and virology tiles fit into the mural that makes up immunogenomics, register for Immunogenomics 2016 today!