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GEM 2016

This year’s Genomic Epidemiology of Malaria (GEM) conference was hosted by the Wellcome Trust Scientific Conferences Programme on the Genome Campus in Hinxton, from 5-8 June 2016. As in previous years, GEM 2016 provided a great opportunity for malaria researchers and clinicians from around the world to come together and share the latest advances in genome science, epidemiology, and the statistical and population genetics of the disease.

Event 5 Jun 2016
Hinxton Hall, Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre. Photo credit: Thomas Farnetti.

This year’s GEM brought together more than 140 participants from 24 countries to discuss the translation of research into tools for malaria control and elimination, with particular focus on the genomic epidemiology of the host, vector and parasite.

See a selection of tweets and links from the event

See pictures from the event

See the GEM programme for a complete list of speakers

GEM 2016 Travel Awardees

GEM 2016 Travel Awardees. Credit: Thomas Farnetti.

The scientific presentations included a special session of lightning talks that gave some of the GEM 2016 Travel Awardees — 9 early career scientists from 8 malaria endemic countries — the opportunity to briefly present their research. This year’s awardees were supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the MRC Centre for Genomics and Global Health, the Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences, and MalariaGEN.

Congratulations to all GEM 2016 travel awardees, who were selected by the organising committee based on their application and letters of support. Those selected for lightning talks were:

  • Anita Ghansah, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Ghana
  • Aung Phyo, Shoklo Malaria Research Unit/Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand
  • Gabriel Carrasco-Escobar, Institute of Tropical Medicine “Alexander von Humboldt”, Peru
  • Irene Omedo, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya
  • Lemu Golassa, Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  • Luicer Olubayo, US Army Medical Research Unit, Kenya
  • Majidah Hamid-Adiamoh, Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia
  • Voahangy Andrianaranjaka, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar
  • Yaye Die Ndiaye, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal

Cheering at the GEM World Cup 2016, Credit: Thomas Farnetti.
Poster awards

We also held a poster session, after which all participants were invited to nominate posters for a range of prizes. Congratulations to all the GEM Poster Award winners:

  • ‘Most challenging’ – Winner: Carolyne Ndila (KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya) et al. for ‘Predicting the α+thalassaemia 3.7kb deletion using genome-wide SNP intensity data’
  • ‘Best new insight’ – Winner: Frances Rocamora (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) et al. for ‘K13 Propeller-Independent Artemisinin Resistance in Plasmodium falciparum’
  • ‘Coolest project’ – Winner: Christopher Jacob (Wellcome Trust Sanger Insitute, UK) et al. for ‘Design and validation of Agena Bioscience’s MassARRAY®-based SNP typing assays for monitoring drug resistance and barcoding in P. falciparum parasites’
  • ‘Most GEM’ – Winner: Angela Early (Broad Institute, USA) et al. for ‘Using deep population sequencing to investigate immune-based selection on antigenic loci in Plasmodium falciparum’

Social events

As well as great science, GEM prides itself on promoting networking and fun with colleagues from around the world. Social highlights included Scientific Speed Dating and, following its success at the GEM 2014, we once again had a Human Table Football Tournament. Participants braved the rain for a friendly competition with guaranteed laughter for both players and fans alike. Congratulations to Zbynek Bozdech’s Blue Team for winning the tournament.


Credit for the excellent programme belongs with the Scientific Organising Committee: Philip Bejon, Abdoulaye Djimde, Arjen Dondorp, Dominic Kwiatkowski, Mara Lawniczak, Bronwyn MacInnis, and Dyann Wirth. Many thanks also to the Wellcome Trust Scientific Conferences and Events teams and to the MalariaGEN Resource Centre for all their hard work behind the scenes. And most of all, thank you to all the participants who came and shared their work and ideas, making for a lively three days of talks, posters, discussions, and fun! We hope to see you again soon.