4th ISCB Student Council Symposium at ISMB 2008 in Toronto, Canada
Now in its 4th year the ISCB Student Council Symposium has again made an impact in the Computational Biology community. Around 100 student delegates attended the event in Toronto on July 18th where ISCB President Burkhard Rost (Columbia University), Mark Gerstein (Yale University) and Timothy Hughes (University of Toronto) delivered the keynote addresses. The students also listened to presentations by nine of their peers, who had been selected based on the outstanding quality of their submitted abstracts. The program was complemented by a panel discussion on “Career paths in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics” followed by a poster session and reception.
Conference chairs Lucia Peixoto and Amr Abuzeid and their team had raised almost $17,500 from sponsors, which allowed the Student Council to support seven outstanding students with travel fellowships worth $1,000 each. More than 40 applications for these travel fellowships had been submitted. The program committee led by Sarath Chandra Janga reviewed a total of 75 submissions for the symposium. The organizers were very pleased with the quality of the submitted abstracts, which has been increasing consistently over the last few years. Selected outstanding abstracts from the symposium were published in a BMC Bioinformatics supplement.
3rd ISCB Student Council Symposium at ISMB/ECCB 2007 in Vienna, Austria
Several distinguished scientists were invited to the symposium, including Janet Thornton (European Bioinformatics Institute) who presented the opening keynote on "Comparative Functional Genomics of Ageing" and Anna Tramontano (University of Rome, La Sapienza) who gave a keynote lecture on the "Advances and Pitfalls of Structural Bioinformatics". ISCB Vice President Reinhard Schneider (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) delivered the closing remarks.
For students and young scientists it is crucial to be aware of the directions in which the field is moving to make the right career decisions. The symposium addressed this challenge by providing two different perspectives on bioinformatics: During two presentation sessions and a poster session student delegates were given the opportunity to learn about the latest research of their peers. Another, more comprehensive, view on the development of the field was provided through aforementioned keynote lectures and a panel discussion on "The Future of Bioinformatics" moderated by Thomas Lengauer (Max Planck Institute for Informatics). Several accomplished senior scientists were on the panel, namely Rita Casadio (University of Bologna), Tan Tin Wee (National University of Singapore), Janet Thornton (European Bioinformatics Institute) and Anna Tramontano (University of Rome, La Sapienza). The discussion was highly interactive, providing delegates with the opportunity to actively contribute and to ask questions. In addition, attendees were able to learn first-hand about personal experiences of some of the scientists that have shaped the field of computational biology.
2nd ISCB Student Council Symposium at ISMB 2006 in Fortaleza, Brazil
The success of the symposium in 2005 encouraged the leadership of the ISCB Student Council to organize a very similar event as part of ISMB 2006 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Even though the symposium was held on the same day as the tutorials of ISMB over 80 delegates registered for this event, which had a strong focus on career-development and networking within the bioinformatics community. Keynote speakers Phil Bourne, Reinhard Schneider and Julio Collado-Vides dedicated time to these issues in their keynote presentations, while then-ISCB President Michael Gribskov discussed his vision of where computational biology is heading in the 21st century in his closing remarks.
Many students and young researchers used the opportunity to present their work at the event and submitted more than 35 abstracts. The best 10 were selected for oral presentation, while a poster session allowed also the remaining submitters to present their work. Awards were given to the authors of the best presentation and the best poster. The day was closed by a social event in one of Fortaleza's best steakhouses, which was another highlight of this very successful 2nd ISCB Student Council Symposium.
1st ISCB Student Council Symposium at ECCB 2005 in Madrid, Spain
The 1st ISCB Student Council Symposium was held on 28th of September immediately preceding ECCB 2005 in Madrid. We initiated the review process of student abstracts and were pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity of abstracts submitted. We received over 60 abstracts in 7 different categories covering a wide range of topics within computational biology. From these we selected 20 for oral presentation on the symposium and another 36 for poster presentations at ECCB.