Amassing colleagues from around the globe to learn about the latest innovations in clinical laboratory medicine is what Jason Park MD, PhD, DABCC loves most about AACC’s Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo. “There’s few other meetings with as many professional networking and education opportunities,” according to Park, chair of this year’s Annual Meeting Organizing Committee (AMOC).

The 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Anaheim, California, will showcase the latest in laboratory technology and scientific research. “Genomics will be an important theme for this year’s scientific sessions and plenary speakers,” according to Park, an associate professor at UT Southwestern Medical Schools’ department of pathology and the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development. “In addition, we will have multiple excellent sessions on clinical informatics.”

Given the rapid rise of consumer genomics for health, wellness, and entertainment, Park said he’s especially looking forward to a special session moderated by Cathy Wurzer from Minnesota Public Radio, “Consumer Genomics, Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing and Patient Empowerment.” Speakers include Jill Hagenkord, MD, FCAP, chief medical officer of Color Genomics in Mountainview, California and Theodora Ross, MD, PhD, director of cancer genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Park is also particularly excited about two plenary sessions. Carl Wittwer, MD, PhD, medical director of Immunologic Flow Cytometry at ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, plans to discuss extreme molecular diagnostics, while David R. Walt, PhD, a core faculty of the Wyss Institute in Boston will give a plenary speech on “Biomarker Discovery: From Technology Development to Clinical Applications.”

Wittwer has innovated DNA diagnostic technologies for more than 30 years, Park said. “One of his early inventions was rapid real-time polymerase chain reaction in the 1990s. He has subsequently continued to advance the clinical applications of DNA-based technologies.” Walt, meanwhile, has been a prolific inventor of DNA technologies, developing the process of manufacturing microwells for DNA assays in the 1990s and co-founding Illumina, the world’s leading DNA sequencing company. “Walt has also applied miniaturization technology to high-sensitivity protein detection technologies and is a co-founder of Quanterix,” a biotechnology company that focuses on precision health, Park added.

AMOC added some innovative features to this year’s conference.

A new section at the Expo, the Innovation Zone, will showcase exhibits by the semifinalists of the AACC Disruptive Technology Award, a competition that recognizes innovative testing solutions that improve patient care through diagnostic performance or access to high-quality testing. Three finalist teams will present data on their technologies, and one team will walk away with a cash prize. This year’s award will feature developers of precision and personalized medicine diagnostics.

In addition, CLN Presents Theater will present a showcase of brief talks on diagnostic innovations, according to Park.

To make the most of their experience, Park urges ASM attendees to check their programs ahead of time. “There are so many great sessions that occur simultaneously that you need to plan ahead and prioritize the sessions and topics that you want to see,” he advised.

Still on the fence about attending the ASM? There’s no better resource for cutting-edge laboratory technology than the Clinical Lab Expo. With more than 800 exhibiting companies and 200 new product introductions, this event claims the title as the world’s largest exposition for clinical laboratory products and services.

“AMOC has planned a great meeting that will have educational programming and networking opportunities for all members,” Park said. Participants have 40 events to choose from, including education on shared interest topics and mixers hosted by AACC groups and divisions.

The 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo takes place on August 4–8 in Anaheim, California. AACC members receive a discount on registration. Come join the conclave in sunny Southern California to network and learn about the latest breakthroughs in laboratory scientists from world-renowned speakers.