Interview with ASHG 2023 Program Committee Member Kevin Booth

By: Meenakshi Ramaswamy, MD

As ASHG celebrates its 75th anniversary, we must take time to reflect upon the importance of this celebration. ASHG has been essential towards the advancement of research in human genetics, thus we must not take this anniversary for granted. To help recognize the amazing events that will take place during the anniversary, we interviewed Kevin Booth, PhD who highlighted several of the important events that will be conducted.

Meenakshi Ramaswamy: ASHG is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year (2023) in November at Washington DC. Are there any special programs, speakers, plenary talks or events being held to honor this occasion?

Kevin Booth: Absolutely! The 75th anniversary of ASHG is indeed a milestone that demands a grand celebration. In honor of this landmark event, an extensive range of special programs, distinguished speakers, plenary talks, and events have been meticulously planned. The Program Committee has curated an enlightening Distinguished Speakers Symposium, named “The Future of Human Genetics and Genomics.” This unique assembly will serve as a beacon, illuminating both the remarkable history and the exciting future of human genetics. In addition to the symposium, the committee has organized 16 member-invited sessions that span a wide spectrum of riveting topics, ranging from the application of artificial intelligence in genetics to the intricacies of the 4D nucleome. These sessions promise to be insightful and engaging, shedding light on various facets of genetics. As we move beyond the sphere of scientific discussions, there’s more to look forward to. There are planned a series of seven special events, receptions, and luncheons. These gatherings not only foster collaboration and networking but also celebrate the spirit of ASHG. The pinnacle of these celebrations is the ASHG’s 75th Anniversary Gala Celebration, a grand event that will pay homage to our rich history.

Meenakshi Ramaswamy: The scientific program is the largest part of the annual meeting. How is the scientific program shaping up for this year?

Kevin Booth: The abstract submission phase for the 2023 meeting has now officially concluded. Brace yourself, because we’ve got a whopping 3600 abstracts to pore over. The enthusiasm and commitment shown by our academic community is truly inspiring. The Program Committee is simply buzzing with anticipation, thrilled by the breadth of topics covered and the sterling quality of these scholarly gems.

The Program Committee is thoroughly impressed by both the diversity of topics presented and the high caliber of the submissions. Our mission is clear, and we’re geared up for it – we aim to construct an exceptional and memorable scientific program that will leave an indelible mark on all attendees. We’re very much looking forward to this process and the excellent contributions it will bring to the meeting. Stay tuned, it’s shaping up to be quite a show!

Meenakshi Ramaswamy: What is special about Washington DC to celebrate 75 years of existence of ASHG?

Kevin Booth: Washington DC has wonderful opportunities both inside and outside the convention center for ASHG 2023 attendees. The Smithsonian museums as well as the National Zoo are fantastic spaces to explore science, history, art, and more, plus they are free to enter. The National Mall is a beautiful outdoor space, home to many museums, monuments, and memorials that are rich with information and so much to do and see. DC also offers a huge variety of different foods to discover, including Spanish tapas, Ethiopian cuisine, mumbo sauce and half-smoke hot dogs, pupusas, oversized pizza slices, and Chesapeake blue crabs.

DC is a world-class place to visit, especially as a geneticist, because it is not only a very diverse community with a lot of different cultures and viewpoints, but also with researchers from around the world at all of the world-class institutes in this region. DC is the capital of the United States and the home of Capitol Hill and our policy makers, who are starting to explore how we’re using genetic and genomic information and technologies and how that’s going to play a role in our lives every day. DC has an exciting atmosphere where a lot of different viewpoints can come together to help shape where the future of genetics research goes.

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