Beyond the Genome: Reshaping Healthcare Worldwide


Published 14th May 2024

The first ever IMPC Spring meeting in Africa took place from 28-30 April 2024 just outside Cape Town in South Africa on the topic ‘Beyond the Genome’.

The meeting was organised by Professors Anne Grobler and Rose Hayeshi from the Preclinical Drug Development Platform (PCDDP) of the North West University (NWU) in South Africa.

Nearly 70 delegates from 11 different countries joined the meeting, with a good representation of South African graduate students and 5 commercial exhibitors.

The meeting regrouped international experts who delivered overview lectures and provided a global perspective on the conference topic.  Advances in nucleic acid –based therapies, centred on the conventional coding genome, but also on non-coding sequences, as well as epigenetic programming were some of the key areas presented.  These areas are at the forefront of the discussions, which reshape healthcare worldwide and create opportunities not only to deliver personalised medicine and innovative treatments for rare and common, previously incurable diseases, but additionally present the potential for more affordable therapies for all.

Participants were welcomed by Glaudina Loots, Director of Health Innovation at the Department of Science and Innovation in South Africa and Craig Kinnear, Director of the South African Medical Research Council gave the opening address. At the end of the first day, Jeffrey Mphahlele, Deputy Vice Chancellor for R& I at the NWU also welcomed the participants and expressed the support to the IMPC network.

Professor Yann Hérault, Chair of the Steering Committee of the IMPC thanked the organisers for hosting this event. The Chair stressed that hosting the IMPC meeting in South Africa for the first time offers an excellent opportunity for the consortium to acknowledge the value of NWU as an IMPC member and both NWU and the overall research community in Africa as a thriving academic environment, with diverse expertise, capabilities and infrastructures.  

Speakers of the sessions are with their gifts presented by the Anne Grobler.

The line-up of international and South African Speakers included (speakers presented per session):

Harry Steinbusch (Maastricht University, Netherlands) – Yann Hérault (University of Strasbourg, France)  (IMPC Chair)

Guillaume Pavlovic (ICS, France) – Rose Hayeshi (North West University, South Africa)

Sylvia Riedel  (SA-MRC, South Africa) – Ronaldo Mukhari (SA-MRC, South Africa) – Lucy Ochola (Kenya IPR, Kenya)

Patrick Soon-Shiong (Nantworks, USA)

Markus Depfenhart (North West University, South Africa) – Anne Grobler (Pheroid Cluster Incubator, South Africa) – Alejandro Sosnik (Technion, Israel)

Radislav Sedláček (CCP, Czech Republic) – Je Kyung Seong (KMPC, South Korea) – Nadine Spielmann (GMU, Germany)

Jan Rozman (LCSB, Luxembourg) – Francois Van Der Westhuizen (North West University, South Africa)  – Raffaele Tepperino (GMU, Germany).

Although the meeting was called the ‘Spring’ meeting for the consortium, as per the annual planning for IMPC-driven events, it was literally a ‘Fall’ meeting for the southern hemisphere. The next meeting to be organised by the IMPC (Fall meeting) will take place in September 2024 in Prague and will be linked to the Annual Czech Centre for Phenogenomics (CCP) conference.    


Published 14th May 2024