Highlights from Tri-Con 2015 Conference; Zon Zones In

Dr. Gerald Zon’s latest “Zone in with Zon” blog post, dated March 2, 2015, and published by TriLink BioTechnologies of San Diego, provides a summary of highlights from the 22nd Annual Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference—better known as Tri-Con—which took place February 15-20 in San Francisco, and which Dr. Zon attended along with approximately 3,000 other scientists, physicians, and entrepreneurs from over 40 countries. With difficulty, given the many impressive presentations, Dr. Zon was able to select three particularly impressive highlights from the content-packed conference. His pick for the top presentation, which was actually also a poster and exhibit all-in-one, featured what he called “the amazing achievement” of a group of New Zealanders from the University of Otago. The team, led by Dr. Jo-Ann Stanton, recently introduced a first-of-a-kind hand-held device for performing real-time or quantitative PCR (qPCR) in the field. This remarkable, palm-size instrument manages to squeeze a plastic four-well sample (10microL-40microL) strip into a thermal cycling block along with an optical system and still only measure a mere 4 x 8 inches. Not only is its size impressive, but the instrument will reportedly perform conventional 40-cycle qPCR with SYBR green or FAM in about 50 minutes. To top it off, results are said to be comparable to “gold standard” laboratory systems. The device is being commercialized as the Freedom4 device by a New Zealand-based start-up company named Ubiquitome, which values this device at $25,000 according to a Feb 25, 2015 press release. The Tri-Con’15 app allowed attendees to vote for the top poster and the winner—who certainly got my vote—was S. Pranav of Monta Vista High School, whose poster was entitled “Integrative Network Analysis of Epigenetic and Genomic Data for Colorectal Cancer.”
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