Association for Molecular Pathology

Newsletter

February 2011, Volume 17, Number 1

 

2010 AMP Technologist Travel Awards

The AMP Technologist Travel Award provided financial travel assistance to three AMP member technologists working in the clinical molecular diagnostics field, who were not able to receive travel support from their institutions. Following is a brief report of their experiences at the AMP Annual Meeting and what they learned.

Ephrem Chim
Emory Genetics Laboratory, Atlanta, GA

I recently attended the 16th AMP Annual Meeting which was held at San Jose McEnery Convention Center, CA, courtesy of the Technologist Travel Award. I would like to express my thanks to the AMP Training and Education Committee for this opportunity. As a professional technologist and laboratory manager, attendance at meetings such as AMP is an invaluable tool, not only to assess new technologies and to learn the best clinical laboratory practices but also to network and share ideas with colleagues. In the space available I cannot possibly do justice to all the excellent talks presented, so I will pick out some of the highlights for me personally which are biased by my interests in Genetics. We saw many excellent presentations by many experts in the field of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Dr Madhuri Hegde kicked off the NGS talk series, speaking about rare disease testing by NGS. Dr Stephen Quake then presented his thoughts on the use of NGS to perform tests such as non-invasive prenatal diagnosis for aneuploidy by simply counting the ratio of chromosomes that is present in a peripheral blood sample of a pregnant individual. At a later technical workshop, Dr Karl Voelkerding gave a clear, concise and balanced presentation of the entire NGS pipeline from target enrichment to the challenges in the analysis of NGS data. Dr Voelkerding's presentation put into prospective what a clinical laboratory has to go through in their work to bring up NGS platform in routine clinical operations. Dr Steve Turner then closed the NGS talk series with his presentation on the development of potential uses of single molecule sequencing next NGS platform. As more laboratories start to incorporate the use of NGS into routine clinical workflow, presentations by pioneers in the NGS field will be invaluable as it will help to shorten the learning curve that each laboratory has to go through. It was a well balanced and exciting meeting and I'm sure that all attendees will be looking forward to the 17th AMP Annual Meeting.

 

 

Dulini Gamage
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Association of Molecular Pathology Annual Meeting 2010 was my first experience at a gathering of molecular biology experts. The workshops offered by various leading vendors in the industry were very educational and gave an insight to where the technology is heading. It was exiting to hear how the molecular methods, assays, instruments that are available have made a huge impact in revolutionizing patient care. After attending the meeting I am hopeful for better patient care with the technology that is yet to be available.

The infectious diseases portion was my most favorite session offered at the meeting. The talks presented by experts in infectious diseases were very informative and gave me an opportunity to learn about different techniques that I have not used before. The posters session further gave me an opportunity to broaden my knowledge of molecular techniques used to test for infectious diseases. It was a great experience learning about what the techniques and protocols other institutes/hospitals currently use or maybe planning to use. The vendor show gave insightful information about the technologies that are available as well the technologies yet to come which gave a great opportunity for the attendees to see them first hand in person.

I also enjoyed presenting our poster on the topic of “Accuracy of Xpert™ C. difficile Assay to Determine Prevalence of C. difficile Toxin and NAP1/027 Strains in Southern Arizona.” Molecular microbiology experts who visited the poster gave much encouragement and their expert advice.

 

Charlotte Romain
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

The Technologist Travel Award allowed me to travel to the AMP Annual Meeting for the first time this year. It was a fantastic experience. I saw some old friends and made some new. I met so many people from all over the US and from many different countries. I made contacts that I would not have made without going to San Jose, who can be resources for me in my lab. The programming committee did an excellent job of lining up speakers. It was hard to decide which talk to attend during the concurrent sessions. The variety of topics in the poster sessions was outstanding. Keeping up with current literature is a daunting task and it's easy to miss something new that might be pertinent to what we are doing in our labs back home. It was really great to be able to see so many new things all in one space, at one time. I was able to get most of my CE credits for my next certification maintenance in one fell swoop. One of the topics of interest in our laboratory is that of Laboratory Developed Tests. There was an excellent talk by FDA and CAP representatives. It was very interesting to hear from their perspective where we have been and what they see as necessary changes for the future and there was a very robust discussion at the end. In addition, there was discussion about this topic at breakfast, lunch, dinner and every place in between. It was helpful to get so many different views about a topic that will affect us all. I brought back a lot of good information and food for thought. I had the opportunity to present a poster at the meeting as well. Presenting is always a great experience. I got the chance to hone my writing skills as I prepared the abstract and poster and the opportunity to work on my speaking skills as I answered questions at the poster session. I learned a lot at the meeting, polished my professional skills and I had a lot of fun. I hope that I get the opportunity to attend again soon and I would recommend the experience to any technologist working in a molecular lab. Thank you so much to the AMP Training and Education committee for giving me this great opportunity.