Spotlight on ISCB Affiliated Regional Group:
Ohio Bioinformatics Consortium

The Ohio Bioinformatics Consortium ( has recently become an affiliate of the ISCB in the Affiliated Regional Groups program (see The OBC strives to enhance educational opportunities and research infrastructure throughout Ohio to facilitate new discoveries in data-intensive biomedical research. This mission is carried out through several activities:

  • Developing a statewide, comprehensive bioinformatics curriculum.
  • Providing scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students who are studying bioinformatics.
  • Performing outreach to encourage K-12 students to pursue careers in bioinformatics.
  • Organizing the annual Ohio Collaborative Conference on Bioinformatics (OCCBIO).
  • Developing bioinformatics infrastructure to facilitate new discoveries in biomedical research.
  • Performing basic research that will lead to better bioinformatics algorithms and models.
  • Discovering new knowledge by utilizing bioinformatics capabilities.
  • Interacting with the bioinformatics-related industry to understand their needs.
  • Facilitating industry internships and research experiences for students.

Ohio researchers, educators and practitioners have collaboratively organized the annual Ohio Collaborative Conferences on Bioinformatics (OCCBIO) since its inaugural meeting in June 2006. OCCBIO 2009 ( was held June 15-17 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

In August 2007 the OCCBIO conference leadership formally united to form a consortium to leverage the existing statewide research community to enhance Ohio’s national role in the area of bioinformatics.

In May 2008 the consortium was awarded $9M from the University System of Ohio and 11 academic institutions. The funds provide scholarships to hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students who are studying bioinformatics in universities across the state of Ohio.

The Consortium is led by the founders and Chairs of OCCBIO, Lonnie Welch of Ohio University and Terry Lewis of the Ohio Supercomputer Center. The OBC carries out its mission via the
following committees:

  • research and infrastructure:
    • Michael Raymer, Wright State University
    • Ashok Krishnamurthy, Ohio Supercomputer Center
    • Bruce Aronow, University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • internships and research experiences:
    • Bill Tacon, BioOhio
    • Victor Chan,Air Force Research Laboratory
    • Kari Green-Church, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • curriculum and education:
    • Zhong-Hui Duan, University of Akron
    • Steve Gordon, Ohio Supercomputer Center
    • Helen Piontkivska, Kent State University
  • K-12 outreach and recruitment:
    • Eric Stahlberg,Wittenberg University
    • Kelly Hall, Clark State Community College
  • scholarships:
    • Sarah Wyatt,Ohio State University
    • GQ Zhang Case Western Reserve University
    • Jing Li, Case Western Reserve University

It was while attending the ISCB Affiliates Committee meeting during ISMB 2009 in Toronto last July that Lonnie Welch met with the representatives of ISCB to initiate discussions about establishing the OCB as an Affiliated Regional Group. The official affiliation began just a few months ago and we are looking forward to close collaborations in the future.