Message from the President – Summer 2024

By Bruce D. Gelb, MD

Bruce D. Gelb, MD, ASHG President
Bruce D. Gelb, MD, ASHG President

It is a thrilling time in our field. It is hard to imagine medical practice without the expansive knowledge of human genetics and genomics that has been accumulated over the last few decades. Today, it is not only possible to sequence the entirety of the human genome within a few days, but it is also possible to edit genomes and treat debilitating genetic conditions and disorders including Huntington disease, sickle cell disease, and heart disease. As the field pushes forward with new achievements, the Society is keeping pace with those advances, designing scientific programming to showcase new discoveries in human genetics and genomics research. ASHG is also working to continue to provide year-round benefits for members to enhance their overall membership value and experience.

Onboarding ASHG’s New CEO

One of the areas of focus for ASHG’s Board of Directors over the next couple of months will be to work closely with our newly appointed CEO, Amanda Perl (see Amanda’s column in this edition of the Messenger here). She comes to the Society with a member-focused mindset and a deep understanding of what it takes to run a successful and thriving professional scientific organization. Amanda’s appointment is a clear reflection of the Society’s current state: ready to take on the future after another strong year of growth. There is enormous opportunity for ASHG that lies ahead, and we couldn’t be happier with Amanda joining us and helping the Society achieve continued success. On behalf of all members, I wish Amanda a warm welcome to our team. Thanks to her dedication and experience, I am confident we will achieve great things together.

The Need for Funding for Research and the Escalating Anti Science Movement

United States Capitol Building in Spring
Source: Orhan Cam/

Amid an exceptional period of advances in our field, ASHG remains focused not only on facilitating scientific exchange through our meetings and digital programs, but also on working to ensure pivotal areas of research can continue to move forward. In an election year in which much is at stake, ASHG continues to advocate for robust and sustained funding for human genetics and genomics research.

As envisioned several years ago, the prioritization of legislative policies and strategic advocacy initiatives that are integral for genomic research to thrive continues to position the Society as a leading voice and global advocate for our field. To that end, back in March, the Society advocated for the funding of NIH and human genetics and genomics research, especially for programs focused on key areas like community engagement and diagnosis of rare genetic diseases. In letters and opinion-editorials in the lead up to Congress voting on funding, the Society’s members argued that scientific research is essential to improving public health and well-being, strengthening the nation’s economy, and ensuring the U.S. remains a world leader in the scientific enterprise. Although NIH funding did not increase, it remained essentially flat with a total of $47.1 billion, which was a positive outcome as there was some concern that there might be significant cuts this year.

With the rise and emergence of anti-science that appeared to pick up pace as perspectives on science diverged during the pandemic, it is clear we have our work cut out for us. We cannot advocate for science without you. Your commitment to membership is essential to ASHG’s advocacy work and contributes to our ongoing success on behalf of the entire field. To learn more about how you can become an advocate, and lend your voice to these efforts, visit the ASHG Advocacy site here.

HBCU Partnership Summit

Source: – Yuri A/

Earlier this year in March, ASHG welcomed 16 individuals from the genetics and genomics community who serve in faculty or administrative roles or are students, alumni, or funders of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). During the one and half day meeting, we spent some time getting to know the participants and understanding their respective research and training programs, as well as learning more about the current state of human genetics and genomics at these institutions. Additionally, there were breakout sessions, providing time for engagement with ASHG Board leadership and staff and for an important discussion on fostering equity and inclusion in the field.

Reflecting Back on Over 30 Years as a Member

In 1995 when I first attended the annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN, I was an early-stage assistant professor starting out in my career and interested in gaining access to conferences, meetings, and educational opportunities that I did not otherwise have at my disposal. Fast forward nearly 30 years later and I am still in touch with people whom I met through the Society; some became lifelong friends. Professionally, I was able to make connections and network in ways that continue to help me today. As I reflect back on 27 years as a member of the Society and multiple roles as a volunteer, I am confident that ASHG has provided me with a great deal of professional success and personal development. I have met many wonderful people over the years, strengthened my understanding of human genetics and genomics and helped to advocate for the field. I look forward to working with you to provide similar opportunities for all members throughout the remainder of the year.

Anticipation of the ASHG 2024 Annual Meeting

City Park, Denver, Colorado
Source: jamescphotography/

With tremendous consideration by the Society’s Program Committee, ASHG’s scientific events offer our community an opportunity to become immersed in new research with researchers who share similar interests. This year’s ASHG 2024 Annual Meeting promises to be an enriching experience for all who attend with a forum for the presentation and discussion of cutting-edge science in all areas of human genetics. ASHG members and leading scientists from around the world will present their research findings throughout the five-day meeting for a true convergence of minds and a showcase of groundbreaking products and innovations.

In 2024, the annual meeting will be back in Denver, the first time since 1998. I invite you to make plans to join us there in November to take advantage of the unmatched opportunity to present your work and gather feedback and insights from our global research community. Given that the United States elections are scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 5, while we are meeting in Denver, we encourage those planning to attend to obtain an absentee ballot from their home state and take the important opportunity to vote and let your voice be heard.

I hope to see you in Denver on November 5-9 and learn more about what research questions you are seeking to answer and what drives your curiosity! To learn more about the annual meeting, visit ASHG’s website.






ASHG uses cookies to provide you with a secure and custom web experience. Privacy Policy