30 November 2021

More than science: highlights from the Oncode CGC Annual Conference

Bianca-Olivia Nita

Bianca-Olivia Nita

Did you attend Oncode’s Annual Conference at the Royal Tropical Institute at the beginning of November? If not, you’ve been missing out. Looking back, we can’t decide on what we loved most about it. Was it the wide variety of topics presented by a great mix of experts who delivered their knowledge with passion and insight, both in person and online? Was it the energy and joy that came from being able to get together face to face, right before a new lockdown? Or perhaps it was the big picture: having organised a successful hybrid meeting despite the challenges, part of what is already becoming a tradition of meeting and discussing science each November?

The best word to describe the event is vibrant. That’s not a word we picked, but how Yvonne Vercoulen (CGC and UMCU, and part of the Scientific Commitee) chose to describe it. And the follow-up feedback we received from the participants speaks the same. For the two days, the Queen Maxima Room and the hallways at the beautiful historical Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam were filled with murmur and with energy.

Over 100 people attended in person each day, with more than double that number online – from Master students to PI’s, including several international speakers: an open and engaged community getting together in the breaks especially designed to have the space and time to foster contact and discussions.

The audience and the speakers who joined online did so through the Networkapp. With more than 540 registrations, we reached a peak of more than 250 participants online following the event and asking questions.

Speakers joined from the USA, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, UK, Spain, and the Netherlands both online and on site. Moderated by the 3 members of the scientific committee (Principal Investigator Yvonne Vercoulen (CGC and UMCU) and Oncode Investigators Marvin Tanenbaum (Hubrecht Institute) and Ruben van Boxtel (Princess Máxima Center)), the variety of topics covered and discussed in the presentations felt inspiring and much appreciated, going from very clinical and the latest clinical innovations to developmental biology and mechanisms – from a close look at a tiny molecule to looking into actual impact on the treatment of a patient.

“Scientifically, I thought most of the talks were outstanding and they are all obviously exciting, each in their own way. We had a very broad set of topics, which I think reflects the Oncode community well”, says Marvin Tanenbaum. “I also think there were a lot of discussions during the Q&A’s with both the real-life and online audience, which indicates that the level of science, the data and ideas presented were excellent”, he adds.

To spice things up, the online visibility of the conference was upped by a Twitter takeover. Oncode Investigator Anastassis *Tassos) Perrakis (NKI) wrote tweets mixing his scientific insights with witty observations and remarks.

“I don’t know how people online experienced it, but at the KIT it was great!” says Ruben van Boxtel. “I met new people, old colleagues and former and ongoing collaborators without the necessity of planning a Zoom meeting. The diversity of people and topics illustrate the mission of Oncode: we have a very broad interest to outsmart cancer”, he adds.

We'd like to thank all speakers, visitors and the scientific committee for making it a great event and we look forward to seeing you next year!

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