“An Introduction to ASHG’s Shared Interest Groups”: A Webinar Recap

On an August 22 webinar, ASHG’s Membership Engagement Committee (MEC) highlighted new and valuable ways for members to engage in the ASHG. The webinar focused on providing information about how to become involved with the SIGs and was led by MEC members Paul Hook, PhD, Minna Kaikkonen-Määttä, PhD, Augusto Rojas-Martinez, MD, PhD, and moderated by MEC Chair Douglas Dluzen, PhD. Currently, ASHG offers three SIGs: Bioinformatics and Computational Methods, Phenotypes & Genotypes, and Emerging Laboratory Technologies. After learning more about how ASHG members can get involved in and benefit from the SIGs, each group entered a breakout session to discuss in more detail. These conversations had a strong focus on the Annual Meeting and how the SIGs can be involved there. More information on the in-person SIG meetups being hosted at the ASHG 2023 Annual Meeting is included below. Access the webinar recording in the ASHG Learning Center to learn more about some of the key takeaways.

SIGs and How to Use Them

Shared Interest Groups were specifically created by ASHG’s Membership Engagement Committee to provide a space for members who are interested in similar topics to collaborate, connect, and communicate. The SIGs enable ASHG members to forge deeper conversations on topics specialized to their work in the field.

So, what can you do once you’ve joined a SIG?

  • Post articles that you find interesting and want to discuss. Someone recently posted an article about targeting a potential new treatment for Fragile X in the Phenotypes & Genotypes SIG.
  • Ask questions. Here, you have more than a thousand of your peers that you can converse with about anything that you want to know. Some examples of what others have already asked in the SIGs include: What population frequency cut-off are others using? What bioinformatics one-liners have you created? What is the best epigenetic mark for QTL studies?
  • Network. Follow others on the platform and message them directly if you have a follow up question or want to connect.
  • Share resources you have found helpful and pass them on to help your peers.
  • And of course, start a discussion! Examples of popular discussions include R vs. Python, interpretation of variants of single gene disorders and changing nomenclature for disease causing synonymous variants.

Join a SIG

ASHG members can complete the SIG Signup Form to join a shared interest group. Nonmembers cannot access SIGs or ASHG Connect without first becoming a member. You will have the option to add the SIGs to your membership when you join.

Best Practices

First, be sure to include a signature tag on all your messages including at least your name, title, and institution. Next, make sure the subject line of all posts clearly and concisely states the topic. This allows members to respond appropriately to your post and eases the archive subject search process. Take the time to upload a profile picture so that your peers can associate a name with a face! Next, please be sure to cite sources. If your post includes the work of others, give the appropriate attribution. Finally, ensure that your post is published in the correct community/SIG.

Chat Casually with Peers

Members interacting, in conversation with one anotherJoin our Coffee Chat Fridays! This is a new initiative started this summer as a virtual opportunity for ASHG members to casually interact with their peers. Discuss anything from your career to your hobbies. Coffee chat threads are posted every other Friday. ASHG Connect members receive an email notification on the Thursday or Friday of that week’s chat. To contribute to the conversation, either reply directly from the email without having to login or find the conversation from your ASHG Connect home page Movies, books, and actual coffee have been recent engaging topics.

Connect In-Person

We invite you to join us at the ASHG 2023 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from November 1-5. SIG leaders will host in-person SIG meetups on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We would love to see you all there. More information and exact locations can be found by filtering to “Networking Sessions” in the Session Type section of the Online Planner. More information will be shared closer to the Annual Meeting.

Phenotypes & Genotypes: ​​Thursday, November 2 @ 7:45am – 8:30am ET​

Bioinformatics and Computational Methods: ​​Friday, November 3 @ 7:45am – 8:30am ET​

Emerging Laboratory Technologies: Saturday, November 4 @ 7:45am – 8:30am ET

Login to ASHG Connect today and post in your SIG to start accessing the benefits of year-round networking with your peers. We hope to see you at the in-person SIG meetups at the ASHG 2023 Annual Meeting!

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