As a direct result of the ‘Revolutionizing Next-Generation Sequencing’ conference, organized by the VIB conferences team and held at Antwerp, Belgium, 25-26 March 2019, a paper has been published in the prestigious journal Genome Biology. This was the third edition of the biennial conference, which has already become known as the European Sequencing meeting. Over 400 people gathered in Antwerp for this edition and 29 companies acted as sponsor. Both the number and quality of abstracts sent in are a sign of the conference’s relevance and popularity. VIB’s sequencing expertise was well-represented with several speakers.

“The sequencing field is moving at an incredible speed, with new applications continuously emerging,” says Silvie Van den Hoecke, Life Science Technology Specialist at VIB’s Tech Watch team. “During the conference, we provided a broad overview on the new developments in this field, with topics ranging from long-read sequencing, epigenomics, metagenomics, single-cell to in situ sequencing. During the two-day event we also stressed the importance of a strong interaction between the academic and industrial spheres to further advance the sequencing field.”

The authors review the highlights of the conference, providing state-of-the-art insights in novel sequencing technologies and the scientific discoveries these facilitate. One of this year’s highlights was the single-cell session. Sarah Teichmann (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK) presented exciting data from the Human Cell Atlas project which aims to build a comprehensive single-cell reference map of all human cell types. This increasing importance of considering the single-cell level is also the topic of the upcoming 2nd edition of the Brain Mosaic conference (10-11 October 2019, Leuven, Belgium), which focuses on cellular heterogeneity in the central nervous system.

Importantly, the paper’s authors emphasize the need for multidisciplinary collaboration and the key role well-organized conferences play in achieving this. An example of this is the Tool & Technologies concept which alternates speakers of academia and industry. This turns out to strongly encourage collaboration. A dedicated networking tool complements this approach and promotes impactful interdisciplinary teamwork even more.

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