hack·a·thon
ˈhakəˌTHän/
Noun informal
1. an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

Genomics “hackers” were settling in and getting cozy this month at the University of British Columbia Life Sciences Institute. The event, organized by a talented committee of local researchers, consisted of participants from industry and academia including the University of British Columbia, the Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, BC Cancer Agency and the BC Genome Sciences Centre.

The Be a Host program had the privilege of being one of the many supporters of Hackseq, an event where ideas were exchanged, code was created and participants worked to produce tools that help scientists better understand and translate genomics data. Their end goal? To contribute to the advancement of diverse research fields, including personalised medicine and machine learning, by providing an inclusive space for scientists to catalyze open and innovation solutions for today’s biggest omics problems.

The hackathon took place only a few days prior to the hosting of the American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting at the Vancouver Convention Centre and many of the programmers, developers, researchers and entrepreneurs were able to attend both. In fact, the American Society of Human Genetics was the generous sponsor of travel awards for three international participants attending Hackseq.

These types of events are key to the success of Vancouver being seen as a global leader in the genomics sector. As a proud supporter and nurturer of the local knowledge economy, we were excited to witness such a buzz around Hackseq where Andrea Heaney, manager of the Be a Host program, was on site to chat with attendees about complimentary support available to those interested in bidding for and hosting their own international conference.