If there is a paradise it must be very similar to Mount Desert Island, in Maine, on the Nort-Eastern coast of USA. Two weeks ago, during the last week of October (26-29), the International Mammalian Genome Society (IMGS) held its 28th International Mammalian Genome Conference (IMGC) in Bar Harbor, ME, USA, a beautiful village surrounded by nature, a most popular tourist spot in Summer, the place where The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) is located, and an excellent venue to hold a scientific conference in Autumn. Some 200 geneticists from around the world, with a large majority of US-Americans, gathered in front of the ocean to discuss about: large-scale resources, advances in genome manipulation, stem cells and development, human disease animal models, comparative genomics, population genetics & evolution, and aging and adult-onset disease modeling. The local organizers, Ron Korstanje and Karen Svenson, from JAX, along with IMGS officers David Beier, David Threadgill, Teresa Gunn and the rest of IMGS Secretariat, must be praised for an excellent meeting, with a great variety of topics presented, in mouse genetics and mouse genomics resources and their applications, including 89 Posters, 16 student presentations and 57 short talks. As usual, most of the IMGC speakers were selected from submitted abstracts. The scientific program was completed with two most interesting keynote addresses by Jeanne Lawrence (Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School – UMMS) and Bruce Beutler (Regental Professor and Director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas), Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 2011, for “their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity“, who delivered a very moving Chapman lecture on his past and current research.
The conference dinner was an opportunity to enjoy one of the gems of Maine, their famous Lobster!. During the conference dinner the IMGS Officers and all participants wholeheartedly thanked and awarded Darla Miller for her more than 25 years of dedicated hard work running the IMGS Society. The 28th IMGC was also innovative since it was transmitted and commented, live, through twitter, under the hashtag #IMGC14. This initiative was launched by Steven Munger and followed by many other participants, who tweeted and re-tweeted the highlights of the 28th IMGC.The IMGC was also attended by several ISTT members, including Thom Saunders, Jean Jaubert, Fernando Benavides, Radislav Sedlacek and Lluis Montoliu. In Bar Harbor it was introduced the next 29th IMGC, IMGC-2015, which will be organized by Piero Carninci (RIKEN) in Yokohama (Japan) on 8-11 November 2015.
Immediately after the 28th IMGC, a good number of participants extended their stay in Bar Harbor to attend the 25th anniversary of Mouse Genomic Informatics (MGI), at JAX, on 3oth November 2014. This festive event filled the JAX auditorium with MGI developers and MGI users, with the latter thanking extensively the former for their work, for their tireless efforts through all these years, for making them happier daily at work, and for preparing and offering, in an organized and orderly manner, the enormous amount of genetic, genomic and phenotypic information on thousands of mouse strains and all what is known about the mouse genes. This memorable half-day symposium, nicely organized by Janan Eppig, included very interesting talks by Linda Siracusa, Ken Paigen and Maja Bucan, who highlighted the most relevant role of MGI in their research projects. The MGI-25 years day ended, for some of us, with an unforgettable and almost private visit at the beautiful Acadia National Park, generously provided by MGI, and finished with the corresponding commemorative cake. In all respects, a fantastic week in Autumn in Bar Harbor.