ISMB 2008

August 1, 2008

The 16th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB 2008) was held in Toronto in late July this year. The Conference Proceedings are available from Bioinformatics (subscription required). Except during keynotes, there were as many as 7 parallel sessions going simultaneously … Proceedings talks (new work), Highlights talks (previously published work), special interest groups (SIGs), special sessions (mini SIGs), technology and industry sessions. Luckily, a group of attendees blogged the conference providing a live account and notes on numerous sessions.

The parallel SIG entitled “Post-ENCODE” contained numerous good talks, mostly on work which has largely already been published. The gem talk of the SIG was when James Taylor explored the open questions and lead a directed discussion on the implications of ENCODE for computational modeling.

Other highlights from ISMB 2008 include:

  • Sinha’s talk on their efforts to build better models of regulatory modules at different evolutionary distances. His lab is clearly doing very impressive work.
  • Royer’s talk on their use of power graphs to summarize the assorted large scale network results. This work was recently published in PLoS Comp. Biol and looks very promising.
  • Brett Tyler gave a nice talk (in the special session entitled “Computational Challenges and Opportunities in Host-Pathogen Systems Biology”) on their very preliminary efforts to integrate genetic information with infection time-series expression analysis.
  • The best session was the four talks in the Hall G Highlights session Wednesday Morning. In all four talks solid modeling techniques were utilized to tackle key problems: Holmes on Transducers as models of indel (and RNA) evolution; Yeang on his co-evolutionary model; Noble on nucleosome positioning; and Backofen on structural ncRNAs.

Finally, the Birds of a Feather session on Science blogging has made their notes from the session available from Google Docs. The same group of people leading the live blogging (FriendFeed) were behind this BFF session.

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