Stanford’s Stephen Quake Discussed Clinical Apps. for Next Gen Sequencing at the AMP Meeting in San Jose

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Recent AMP Meeting Brings Signs of Life to McEnery Convention Center

The Association for Molecular Pathology’s annual meeting was held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose on November 18 and 19, 2010. This impressive meeting included about 319 vendor exhibits, many poster exhibits, and numerous plenary talks about molecular pathology and diagnostics.

The first session that I attended was the “Single Cell Analysis Of Circulating Tumor Cells In Cancer.”  Stefanie Jeffrey, MD, at Stanford University School of Medicine discussed single cell analysis of circulating tumor cells in cancer.  She talked about the 20 most commonly expressed genes, CTC’s grown in vivo, and FAST (fiber array scanning technology).

I listened to Madhuri Ramanathan from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey who gave a talk about autism.  She discussed the percentage of pro-inflammatory genotypes. In another session Betty Wong, MS, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Canada discussed the search for functional polymorphisms in the vitamin D binding protein gene, Gc.  She said that Gc was discovered in 1959 and named Group-specific component or Gc.  She said the objective was to search for functional DBP gene polymorphisms.  The study population was 66 percent Hispanics, 23 percent African-Americans, and 11 percent Europeans or other descent.  The methodology was denaturing HPLC and sequencing, etc.  The results were 24 different DBP gene variations in their 2-tail sample.  DBP is a highly polymorphic multifunctional protein.  Very little is known about the molecular variations responsible.

The size of the vendor exhibition suggested to me that business might be picking up in the molecular diagnostic product space.  Companies such as Roche Diagnostics, Illumina, Abbott Molecular, Illumina, Agilent, Qiagen, Siemens and others were there. Maybe 2011 will become a growth year for these vendors.

IBM Speaker Discusses Experience with Email App. at USENIX/ LISA Meeting

The USENIX/ Lisa (Large Installation System Administration) ’10 Conference was held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center during November 7-12, 2010. The event supports attendes from the community of large IT systems administration with education sessions, BOF meetings, vendor exhibitions, receptions, and social networking opportunities.  About 1,500 attendees participated at this interesting event.

I attended a talk about Postfix.  Wieste Venema, a researcher from  IBM’s T.J. Watson Center, gave a talk called Postfix: Past, Present, and Future. Wieste discussed his experience that he had with the postfix mail system over its 12-year history. He said that since its release by IBM as an open source mail system, Postfix has gone on to become a proven part of mail system infrastructure. Postfix is used in ISP server infrastructures that manage millions of email boxes.  Wieste explained that after IBM completed Postfix in 2006, development work shifted the focus to expanding its functions, making it extend to other areas and to become more adapatible to changing demands such as resisting external threats from malware.

Speaking of external threats, Wieste made a special observation about the problem of persistant overload that occurs before the smtpd connection filter.  He noted that there was prior work in the field such as OpenBSD spamd, MailChannels, TrafficControl and work by M. Tokarev.  He said that spammers can setup networks of millions of hijacked PCs called ‘zombies’ to invade and overwhelm email servers with spam junk.  Postfix helps email systems resist zombie attacks.

I also attended a few more talks, the vendor exhibition, and two receptions. My observations of this conference made it clear to me that attendees can gain many benefits of the various educational sessions, BOF meetings and personal networking opportunities that the USENIX made available.

BIOMEDevice Expo Brings Exhibitors to San Jose

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