The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting is huge—so big that it can be tough to choose which talks to attend in person (or tune in to from afar). The Scientist asked Washington University in St. Louis’s Elaine Mardis—who is on the planning committee for this year’s conference, being held in New Orleans—to share her picks of the most buzzworthy topics in cancer research today.

The Scientist: To your mind, what are some of the hottest areas of cancer research right now?

Elaine Mardis: Immunotherapy and immunogenomics, liquid biopsy-based monitoring of patient response to therapy, [and] clinical genomic assays to identify therapeutic targets.

TS: What are you presenting at AACR this year?

EM: I am speaking in the opening plenary about cancer genomics and its transition to aid patient care in the cancer clinic. I also am providing a wrap-up of...

TS: What new topics are emerging that have received less attention in past conferences?

EM: Liquid biopsy and early detection of cancers. Germline contribution of cancer susceptibility mutations in patients without a family history of cancer.

TS: What talks or posters do you anticipate finding most exciting?

EM: I think the Wednesday plenary lectures on single-cell genomics and the tumor heterogeneity plenary on Tuesday will have the most exciting talks.

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