Leading Professional Society for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
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ISCB News and Announcements

  • Celebrating preLights’ first Birthday
  • Applied Statistical Modelling and Health Informatics PG Cert, King’s College London
  • Celebrating preLights’ first Birthday
  • Applied Statistical Modelling and Health Informatics PG Cert, King’s College London
  • ISMB/ECCB 2019, Basel, Switzerland, July 21 - July 25
  • Celebrating preLights’ first Birthday
  • Rocky 2019 - 17th Annual Rocky Mountain Bioinformatics Conference
  • Applied Statistical Modelling and Health Informatics PG Cert, King’s College London
  • Applied Statistical Modelling and Health Informatics PG Cert, King’s College London


Renowned scientific computing expert to speak at international life sciences conference on Semantic Web and Big Data in Cambridge, MA

LA JOLLA, CA – Pioneering scientist and best selling author Stephen Wolfram will deliver a keynote talk at next week’s Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Sciences (CSHALS) in Cambridge, MA.

Wolfram is an internationally recognized authority on complex systems and knowledge base computing. His work in the early and mid-1980s focused on understanding complex systems and resulted in discovering important connections between computation and nature. He is the chief designer of the Mathematica technical computing software on workflow applications, and author of the bestseller "A New Kind of Science," first released in 2002 and now freely available online. As president and CEO of Wolfram Research, he launched the Wolfram|Alpha Central Knowledge Engine in 2009 that aims to use computational tools to make the world’s knowledge base accessible to all. His research and software developments continually tackle the specific challenges being addressed by researchers attending the CSHALS meeting: The Semantic Web that promotes common formats for all data on the Web; and Big Data that seeks to manage datasets that have grown too large to work with using common tools and applications.

Wolfram’s keynote is part of a roster of keynote presentations throughout the CSHALS conference from noted scientists, including: knowledge representation and reasoning specialist Rinke Hoekstra of the University of Amsterdam, informatics program director Isaac (Zak) Kohane of Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital, biologist and bioinformatics specialist Barend Mons of the University of Rotterdam and the Leiden University Medical Centre in The Netherlands, and research specialist Chris Welty of IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. The conference also features 18 presentations from other invited speakers and those selected through peer reviewed abstract submissions.

Now in its fifth year, CSHALS, an annual conference of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), is the premier annual event focused on the use of semantic technologies in the pharmaceutical industry, including hospitals/healthcare institutions and academic research labs. This year’s gathering will be held February 23-24 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and includes a pre-conference tutorial and scientific posterreception on February 22nd. For more information visit the conference website at www.iscb.org/cshals2012.

About ISCB
The International Society for Computational Biology is a nonprofit scholarly society dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems through computation. Based in La Jolla, California, at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, the ISCB has a global membership of 3,000 researchers from 70 countries. For more information, visit www.iscb.org.

Press Contact
BJ Morrison McKay
ISCB Executive Officer
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Call for ISCB Call for Leadership Nominations

Board Nominations Deadline: April 6, 2012

ISCB Officer and Student Council Leader Nominations Deadline: June 3, 2012

The International Society for Computational Biology is encouraging members to submit nominations for the Society's Board of Directors; the Officer positions of Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary; and the Student Council Leadership positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and SC Rep to the ISCB Board. Nominations are submitted at www.iscb.org/nominate (you must login to your membership record to access the nomination form). In all cases, self nominations will not be accepted.

If you know of excellent candidates that meet the eligibility requirements below, please be sure to submit your nomination(s) right away.

  • In order to be eligible for candidacy as a Director a person must be or become an ISCB member in good standing no later than the date he or she accepts the nomination. Acceptance is then completed by submitting a candidate statement by May 4, 2012.

  • All Director candidates must pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the bi-monthly Board teleconference beginning with a training period in October 2012 and the annual in-person Board of Directors meeting (held at the ISMB conference) at their own expense through completion of the three-year term that begins January 21, 2013.

  • In order to be eligible to be an Officer candidate a person must have served on the ISCB Board of Directors for at least one year prior to January 2013, and be an ISCB member in good standing, or renew a lapsed membership no later than June 24, 2012.

  • All Officer candidates must pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the weekly Executive Committee teleconferences beginning with a training period by mid-October, 2012, the bi-monthly Board teleconferences beginning with a training period in October 2012, and the annual in-person Board of Directors meeting (held at the ISMB conference) at their own expense through completion of the two-year Officer term that begins January 21, 2013.

  • The elected Officers will also serve concurrently on the Board of Directors for a term that ends January 21, 2016.

Nominations for Board of Directors will be accepted through April 6, 2012. Election of Board members will take place during the annual ISCB Board of Directors meeting in July 2012.

Nominations for Officers and Student Council Leaders will be accepted through June 3, 2012. Election of the Officers and Student Council Leaders will take place via online voting by the membership in July, 2012, including availability to a dedicated voting booth at the ISMB conference.

Each nomination requires the name, affiliation, and email address of the nominee, along with an assurance that the nominee meets the qualifications and is willing to stand for election for the position in question. The nomination must also include a few sentences of justification that makes the strongest case possible for the nominee.

Full information regarding the 2012 nominations/elections timeline, call for nominations, and Director and Officer responsibilities can be found at www.iscb.org/iscb-leadership-a-staff-/officers-and-board-directors/nomination-election-procedures.

We are looking forward to an active participation by the ISCB membership in the nominations and election process, and we thank you in advance for your qualified nominations.


Dietlind Gerloff, Scott Markel, and Anna Tramontano
Co-Chairs, ISCB Nominations Committee

ISCB Response to Research Works Act HR-3699

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

On February 14, 2012, the following letter was personalized to each of the 39 members of the US House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee and successfully sent via fax to their congressional offices. We share this to keep you informed on ISCB's response to HR-3699, and also to invite you to use any parts of this letter for stating your own opposition to this legislation that threatens to limit public access to federally funded scientific research.

Dear Representative :

On behalf of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) and its 1198 individual members from across the United States, we strongly oppose H.R. 3699, the "Research Works Act," introduced on December 16 and referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This bill would prohibit federal agencies from requiring, as a condition of their research grant funding, that the public be guaranteed online access to the products of research funded by public tax dollars.

H.R. 3699 will limit American taxpayers in accessing the results of the crucial scientific research they funded. By reversing the growing trend for cooperation and collaboration made possible by the open and rapid sharing of information and research results, this bill will inhibit our ability to exploit scientific discoveries, stifle critical advances in life-saving scientific research, and impede the pace of innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 3699 would reverse the highly successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy. The NIH Public Access Policy now gives millions of Americans public access to vital health care information from the NIH's PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, more than 90,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each year. H.R. 3699 would abrogate this collection. This loss will seriously impede the ability of researchers, physicians, healthcare professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 3699 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information, paid for with taxpayers' money and addressing vital areas such as energy, public safety, the environment, and hundreds more, would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation --- greatly to the detriment of the lives and well-being of the public, which funded the research in the first place.

In October 2010, ISCB published a public policy statement on "Open Access to Scientific and Technical Research Literature" (www.iscb.org/iscb-policy-statements/literature_open_access). This policy statement embraced Open Access even beyond the current NIH policy. The vision of individualized medicine offers many reasons for hope and a brighter future. Achieving such important goals poses immense challenges for the discipline of computational biology. No single research institution is ready for a challenge of this magnitude, so we have learned to join forces and to share scientific results and information. The objective of ISCB's statement on Open Access is to increase the availability of scientific results and developments in our field well beyond what is currently accomplished by the NIH. An excerpt from this statement:

The International Society for Computational Biology strongly advocates free, open, public, online: (i) access by person or machine to the publicly-funded archival scientific and technical research literature; and (ii) computational reuse, integration, and distillation of that literature into higher-order knowledge elements.

We strongly urge you to permit and encourage the NIH and other agencies to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R. 3699.


Scott Markel, Ph.D., Chair of ISCB Publication Committee

Richard Lathrop, Ph.D., Chair of ISCB Public Affairs & Policies Committee

Burkhard Rost, Ph.D., ISCB President