2014 Archived Content


Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Inaugural

PCR for Molecular Medicine

Current Applications and Future Perspectives

February 10-12, 2014 | Moscone North Convention Center | San Francisco, CA


Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Download Brochure 

Tuesday, February 11

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee

8:00 Plenary Keynote Session (Click Here For More Details)  

9:15 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


10:25 Chairperson’s Remarks

Robert Palais, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Math Dept, Utah Valley University; Research Professor, Pathology Dept, University of Utah

10:30 Counting Copies: Digital Distributions and Math for Melting

Robert Palais, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Math Dept, Utah Valley University; Research Professor, Pathology Dept, University of Utah

Joint work with CT Wittwer, L Zhou, S Sundberg, Z Dwight, D Fairbanks, A Fairbanks
We will discuss two mathematical algorithms that can be used to quantify DNA copy number variation with increased accuracy. One permits rapid exact evaluation of cumulative probability distributions having one or more degrees of freedom, for sampling with or without replacement. Another method normalizes the high-resolution melting peak of the target with respect to that of a reference after ensuring the initial copy ratio is preserved during PCR.

11:00 Eprobe: New Fluorescence Probe for the Combination of Real-Time PCR and Melting Curve Analysis

Takeshi Hanami, Ph.D., LSA Technology Development Unit, Omics Science Center, RIKEN

Eprobe is a hybridization-sensitive fluorescent probe that only shows strong fluorescence signals upon hybridization to a complementary DNA strand. This talk will describe how the probe combines real-time PCR monitoring and melting curve analysis as well as how we achieved multiplex detection by using multicolor Eprobes. The combination provides powerful means for new mutation detection assays in a single-tube reaction.

11:30 PACS: PCR-Activated Cell Sorting

Adam R. Abate, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), University of California, San Francisco

We have developed a microfluidic system that allows individual cells to be analyzed and sorted based on the outcomes of single-cell PCR reactions. Our system encapsulates each cell in a microdroplet, lyses the cell, and performs RT-PCR to detect gene transcripts, SNPs, or small non-coding RNAs of interest. Unlike FACS, PACS requires no antibodies and can differentiate among cells based on transcriptional variation. The technology has broad applications in basic research and medical diagnostics, including in cancer, immune function, and microbiology.

12:00 pm FEATURED POSTER PRESENTATION: Helper-Dependent Chain Reaction (HDCR), a Unique PCR Method with Sensitivity and Specificity Suitable for DNA Diagnostic Assays

Jason Ross, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Animal Food and Health Sciences/Preventative Health Flagship, CSIRO

We have developed a unique PCR-based technique that amplifies free DNA ends by a modified priming scheme which enforces selection for the target sequence throughout every PCR amplification cycle and thus results in enhanced specificity and sensitivity. This technique, Helper-dependent Chain Reaction (HDCR), is particularly useful for the detection of minute amounts of rare target DNA in the presence of a vast excess of non-target DNA; for example, the detection of biomarkers in circulating plasma DNA.

12:30 Session Break

12:40 Luncheon Presentations (Sponsorship Opportunities Available) or Lunch on Your Own

1:40 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


2:15 Chairperson’s Remarks

Fred Russell Kramer, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Public Health Research Institute, New Jersey Medical School

2:20 Application of Digital PCR for the Analysis of RNA

Rebecca Sanders, Researcher, Nucleic Acid Metrology, Molecular Biology, Science and Technology Division, LGC

2:50 Digital PCR Developments We'd Like to See

N. Reginald Beer, Ph.D., Medical Diagnostics Initiative Leader, Center for Micro and Nanotechnologies, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The development of digital PCR has led to many exciting applications that benefit from the technique's ability to isolate, amplify, and detect rare or numerically-disadvantaged targets. Not surprisingly, this created early interest in medical diagnostics where the ability to detect rare mutants among a wild type background is critical. More widespread adoption, however, would benefit from additional advances that increase the technology's value proposition. In this talk we will discuss several trends that could broaden dPCR's appeal.

3:20 Picoliter Droplet-Based Digital PCR for Molecular Diagnostics

Valerie Taly, Ph.D., Group Leader/CNRS Researcher, Université Paris-Descartes

Picoliter droplet-based digital PCR allows the highly sensitive and quantitative detection of rare cancer markers within complex mixtures of DNA like patient samples. We will present the development of droplet multiplex procedures for the quantitative detection of the seven most frequent KRAS mutant alleles as well as wild type sequences and clinical applications of these procedures for patient treatment management. The results of two clinical trials involving metastatic cancer patients will be presented.

3:50 Liquid Biopsy – Blood-Based Molecular Testing in Oncology 

Frank Diehl, Ph.D., Vice President, Lab Operations, Research & Development, Sysmex Inostics

The use of blood for molecular testing in oncology opens up new, non-invasive possibilities for the management of cancer patients in the context of therapy selection, response prediction, real time follow-up, and resistance monitoring.

4:20 Valentine’s Day Celebration in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

5:20 Breakout Discussions in the Exhibit Hall

These interactive discussion groups are open to all attendees, speakers, sponsors, & exhibitors. Participants choose a specific breakout discussion group to join. Each group has a moderator to ensure focused discussions around key issues within the topic. This format allows participants to meet potential collaborators, share examples from their work, vet ideas with peers, and be part of a group problem-solving endeavor. The discussions provide an informal exchange of ideas and are not meant to be a corporate or specific product discussion.

Very Fast (Extreme) PCR

Moderator: Carl Wittwer, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Pathology, University of Utah

  • What are the uses of PCR in < 1 min?
  • Is extreme PCR practical?
  • How can you maintain specificity with high primer and polymerase concentrations?

PCR Quality Control Considerations

Moderator: Rebecca Sanders, Researcher, Nucleic Acid Metrology, Molecular Biology, Science and Technology Division, LGC

  • Special considerations for dPCR
  • Publishing accurate, clear data
  • Ensuring reliable reagents
  • Strategies for experimental design

Digitizing Traditional PCR Formats

Moderator: Valerie Taly, Ph.D., Group Leader/CNRS Researcher, Université Paris-Descartes

6:30 Close of Day

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Download Brochure 

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