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Top Conferences


Respondents to Genome Technology's 2011 conference survey recommended attending the annual Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting more than any other general genomics conference covered by the questionnaire. Of course, as one respondent pointed out in a comment, AGBT's Marco Island, Fla., venue certainly doesn't diminish its appeal — particularly for people visiting from places where February is typically synonymous with "frigid."

Of the large biomedical science meetings the survey asked about, the American Society for Human -Genetics' annual meeting earned the most respondent recommendations, though the American Association for Cancer Research's conference was a close second in that category. For meetings distinguished by specialized scientific foci, many respondents recommended Gordon Research Conferences and Keystone Symposia in general, though the specific topics they named for each run the gamut from atherosclerosis to RNA silencing to toxicogenomics.


The survey also asked respondents to rate some of the top conferences in the field — as identified by GT surveys past — in terms of their scientific content, the networking opportunities they present, exhibit hall quality, and more to help you plan your 2012 travel calendar.

And, just for fun, GT asked participants to comment on the strangest sponsor giveaways or vendor freebies they've ever received at a scientific meeting. Be sure to check out the Blunt End at the back of this issue to try your hand at the conference-swag crossword.
Most- and least-important factors when deciding whether to attend a certain meeting

Most important

•Relevance of subject matter
•Chance to hear about new scientific data/results

Least important

•Quality of exhibit hall

Most- and least-liked conference characteristics


•Scheduled networking opportunities
•Separate tracks, divided by technology or topic
•Scheduled, shared meals


•Substantial amount of free time


•Evening sessions

Top meeting types, by likelihood of attendance

1. Meetings with specific scientific foci
2. Large biomedical meetings
3. Technology/instrumentation meetings
4. Bioinformatics/IT meetings

(Click image to enlarge.)

GT_conferencesurvey_amount spent on travel.jpg




Most recommended meetings by category

Large biomedical meetings:
1. ASHG: American Society for Human Genetics
2. AACR: American Association for Cancer Research
3. ASM: American Society for Microbiology
4. AAAS: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Technology/instrumentation meetings:
1. ABRF: Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities
2. LabAutomation
4. SBS: Society for Biomolecular Science

General genomics meetings:
1. AGBT: Advances in Genome Biology and Technology
2. Biology of Genomes (CSHL)
3. Beyond the Genome (Genome Biology, Genome Medicine)
4. HUGO: Human Genome Organization

Model organism/plant and animal meetings:
1. PAG: Plant and Animal Genome Conference (Scherago International)
2. DOE JGI: US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute User Meeting
3. GSA: Genetics Society of America's C. elegans, Drosophila, or other model organism meetings
4. IMGS: International Mouse Genome Conference

Bioinformatics/IT meetings:
1. ISMB: International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISCB)
2. Genome Informatics (CSHL)
3. Bio-IT World (CHI)
4. RECOMB: International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology

Specialized scientific meetings:
1. Gordon Research Conferences
2. Keystone Symposia
3. International Symposium: Systems Biology and Medicine (ISB)
4. International Meeting of the Functional Genomics Data Society (FGED)

67.3% of total respondents indicated attending 1 to 3 meetings per year
50.1% of total respondents reported an annual conference budget between $1,000 and $5,000
4.3% said they spent more than $15,000 to attend meetings this year




(Click image to enlarge.)

Charts for Genome Technology by Kevin Hand

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