10 March 2011 -- Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of
Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and the patron of the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award
for Medical Sciences (SHAMS), UAE will host the 15th Annual Human Genome Meeting (HGM 2011) in conjunction with the 4th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference under the common theme of "Genomics of Human Diversity and Heritable Disorders" at Dubai World Trade Centre, from 14th until 17th of March, 2011.
His Excellency Dr. Hanif Hassan, the UAE Minister of Health and the Chairman of the Board of
Trustees of the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, said that he is
proud to see this meeting being organized in the UAE; this being the first time an HGM is being
hosted in an Arab State.
He also praised the generous support provided to HGM 2011 by H. H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and the patron of the Award, and his
eagerness to provide all possible facilities for the conference and the delegates.
He said that holding this conference in conjunction with the 4thPan Arab Human Genetics
Conference is a fruit of constructive cooperation between the Human Genome Organisation and the
Award’s Centre for Arab Genomic Studies.
H.E. Dr. Hanif Hassan, UAE Minister of Health, referred to HGM 2011 as a reflection of a new world’s
era of applying advanced human genomic technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of many
disorders, in order to reduce the spread and control of inherited disorders and many chronic diseases
with genetic backgrounds such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension that exhaust economic
resources and productivity worldwide.
He added that the participation of 1,200 doctors and geneticists in this meeting is a strong indicator
for the potential success in issuing realistic recommendations that would certainly help support the
global health system.
H.E. Dr. Hanif Hassan added that he is proud of the strategic partnership that exists between
SHAMS, the Dubai World Trade Centre, and the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce
Marketing. The conference also received strong support from various official departments in the UAE
including the UAE Ministry of Health, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Police, General Directorate of
Residency and Foreigners Affairs, and Emirates’ Transport.
“The coordination of these various institutions allows us to anticipate a successful organization of this
conference and emphasize the leading role of UAE in supporting scientific research locally and
globally”, the Minister said.
On the other hand, Prof. Najib Al Khaja, Secretary General of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, President of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS),
and the President of HGM 2011, said that the conference will discuss 480 research papers authored
by 1700 researchers from 66 countries around the world.
“India has topped with 58 research papers, followed by the United States of America with 44 papers,
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 36 papers and the United Kingdom with 30 research papers among
other 66 countries”, he added.
“The UAE is also represented in the conference through 22 submitted research papers. In addition,
there also 21 submitted research papers from Singapore, which hosts the current international
headquarters of HUGO”, he referred.
Prof. Najib Al Khaja, said that starting from the second day of the conference more than 100 lectures
will be distributed on 3 parallel unprecedented concurrent symposia on each day.
These lectures include 75 invited keynote speeches and 26 submissions that were selected among
405 abstracts received during the last four months of 2010 through the conference’s website.
The remaining 379 submissions will be presented during the conference in traditional and electronic
The conference will also include a major exhibition of more than 30 global companies displaying the
latest in genomic technologies and services.
Prof. Al Khaja added that, since the first call to organize this meeting, HUGO and CAGS have
provided all possible measures to attract contributions from the largest possible number of young
scientists and to present a suitable platform to improve their knowledge in the field.
Senior world geneticists are expected to participate in the event. At the forefront is Prof. Edison T
Liu, President of the Human Genome Organisation and Executive Director of the Genome Institute in
Singapore (GIS), a biomedical research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and
Also among the conference participants is Prof. Sydney Brenner, President of Okinawa Institute of
Science and Technology and Nobel laureate for Medicine in 2002.
Among prominent Arab participants is a member of the Saudi Parliament, who will be discussing a
number of draft laws on human genome applications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“It is time for emerging countries to benefit from developed genome applications in disease diagnosis
and treatment”, Prof. Edison T Liu said in a statement by HUGO.
He added that the main objective of establishing HUGO in 1988 was to map the human genome,
which was successfully completed in 2003 and caused great global impact.
“Objectives of HUGO have been recently developed with a new manifesto, declaring that HUGO will
champion the adoption of genomics into human health and sustainability equally among emerging
and developed states”, he referred.
He said that HUGO would dedicate itself to encourage and assist the rise of genomic sciences in
emerging scientific nations.
Speaking about the reasons for choosing the United Arab Emirates to host HGM 2011, he said that
UAE is an exceptional country with a strong infrastructure and a strategic location in addition to a
central role to play in supporting scientific research in the region.
“Among the main topics that will be discussed during the conference are the next generation of
genomic technologies and their impact on heritable disorders, stem cell therapy, and diseases with
genetic ramifications such as cancers, metabolic disorders, deafness, and neurological disorders”,
Prof. Liu said.
The conference will also discuss the global economic effects of genome applications and their related
ethical and legislative challenges. Among the discussed subjects is the use of developed algorithms
to read human genome maps and allow the discovery of disease-related loci.
As a satellite event, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a non-profit organization supporting
genome research, will organize a 3-day workshop between the 19th and 21st of March at the
American University in Dubai. The workshop aims at training 30 geneticists on how to use
bioinformatics tools freely available on the internet, focusing primarily on the Human Genome data.
During the conference, the HUGO Council will conduct several closed meetings to discuss its future
strategic plans; the details of the forthcoming HGMs; its publications, in particular, The HUGO
Journal; and the goals and directions for its various sub-committees.
The Executive Board and Arab Council of CAGS will also hold a number of important meetings to
evaluate their achievements during the past years and discuss future projects.
During HGM 2011 a daily "Meet the Professors" networking session will be held, during which
selected members from HUGO and CAGS will meet with young and aspiring scientists to discuss
their potential future roles in the domain of genomic sciences.
Prof. Edison T Liu will also chair several significant meetings on the sidelines of the conference with
representatives of international participating organizations to discuss ways of cooperation aiming to
reinforce HUGO’s role in the realm of human genomics and genetics.
About the Human Genome Organisation
The Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) is an international organisation formally established in
1988 to foster collaboration between genome scientists around the world. It is entering its 21st
year of history by making an inflection in its direction. Now that the human genome has been sequenced, we
are seeking the biological meaning of its information content. To this end, it is focusing on the medical
implications of this genomic knowledge. Moving forward, HUGO is also working to enhance the
genomic capabilities of the world’s emerging countries. The excitement and interest in genomic
sciences in Asia, the Middle East, South America, and Africa are palpable and the hope is that these
technologies will aid in national development and improved health.
Ms. Diana Hon, Human Genome Organisation, (Tel) 65-6808-8192 (Fax) 65-6808-8297, (Email)
HGM 2011 – www.hgm2011.org