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Professional Development, Training and Education

ISCBintel and Achievements


The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) in partnership with George Mason University, is hosting the second annual the Youth Bioinformatics Symposium (YBS), Exploring Computational Biology Winter 2019.

In 2016 nearly 100 students from the greater Washington DC area gathered for this event. This engaging one-day event introduces students to the amazing world of computational biology, allowing them to engage with and learn about popular tools used in research in our hands-on workshop, as well as inform them of the many career areas in whcih bioinformatics is now appearing. ISCB is seeking sponsorship for the 2019 YBS at any contributable amount.  Supporters of the conference will be recognized during the event as well as in post event articles.


GOLD - $3000
  • Logo prominently displayed on symposium website under highest level sponsorship
  • Logo on signage at event
  • Logo on event re-cap article in ISCB Newsletter
  • Recognition in ISCB annual report for support of the event with logo
  • Opportunity to present science award prize
  • Organization recognized as travel fellowship donor
SILVER - $2000
  • Logo displayed on symposium website under silver level sponsorship
  • Logo on signage at event
  • Logo on event re-cap article in ISCB Newsletter
  • Recognition in ISCB annual report for support of the event
  • Opportunity to present science award prize
BRONZE - $1000
  • Logo displayed on symposium website under bronze level sponsorship
  • Logo on signage at event
  • Logo on event re-cap article in ISCB newsletter
  • Recognition in ISCB annual report for support of the event
  • Organization listed on conference website
  • Organization listed on signage at event
  • Recognition in ISCB annual report

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The purpose of the mini science fair is to allow middle and high school students to think creatively, conduct background research, and develop a proposal for a unique solution that can help address important problems that face the public health and medical fields. Through this process, students will be able to think like scientists, apply technologies to pressing global health issues, and learn how to make existing technologies even better.

Registration will reopen when a new date in the fall is determined.

Theme of the Mini Science Fair:
The theme for this year’s youth symposium is Precision Health. This area is broad to allow students room to explore their own interests and see how computational and engineering methods can be applied to global health issues.

Examples of areas in Precision Health include:

Before the Symposium:
Students will be able to form teams to help brainstorm and think of ideas. A few weeks before the symposium, the team will submit a brief abstract of their proposal. The abstract submission will take place on the symposium website.

The Symposium organizer will have research scientists available to help guide the teams.

During the Symposium:
At the symposium, there will be a time when teams will give poster presentations to various visitors at the symposium (family and friends) and will also present their idea to judges. The judges will score and determine the top projects, who will receive an award at the closing ceremonies.

Presentation Details:
At the science fair, individuals or teams can present their project in a variety of ways. The different options include a trifold poster board, powerpoint presentation on a laptop, or even printed out images and notes as a supplement. Presenters are not required to have a trifold poster board, and can instead determine what presentation method is best for them. The symposium organizers will provide a table for each project at the science fair.

Judging Criteria:

--> Click here for a PDF of this rubric.

CRITERIA Excellent (4-5 pts) Competent (2-3 pts) Needs work (0-1 pts)
Scientific question is identified Question is explicitly stated. Hypothesis to address the question or technical solution is explicit. Question and/or hypothesis is implicit Unclear what is the scientific questions and no statement of hypothesis
Significance of problem explained Explains the problem being addressed, including the prevelance or cost to society or the environment. Discussion of other solutions, including deficiency of those solutions Briefly mentions the problem, with some discussion of impact to society. Mention of other solutions No mention of prior attempts to solve the problem; no understanding of significance of the problem
Methods used by students to understand problem and frame the question Student explains how they did their research, e.g. reading the literature, online databases, other onlines sources; discussions with scientists. References included on presentation
Research methods are implicit or references are not included on presentation Research methods are unclear and no references are provided
Methods to perform proposed research, test hypothesis, or create new technology States whether designing computer algorithm, proposing clinical trials, or biological experiments. Includes appropriate control experiments or control computer simulations; OR, Has good plan of technology development and alternatives.
Proposed methods are not stated explicitly. Understands about need for control experiments or simulations but not included in plan; OR, technology plan has no contingencies. No understanding about control experiments or simulations. Experiments or technology development are poorly designed
Presentation Uses good visual aids. Shows deep understanding of the problem domain. Provides good summary of all the information instead of focusing on details.
Some visual aids, but overall too much text. Spends too much time on details instead of focussing on big picture. No or inappropriate visual aids. Reads from written report. Unable to answer questions about project.
Student/Team:   Judge:  


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Our live panel discussion will talk about the paths of our panel members, students and professionals, in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Prepare to hear offered opinions and responses to questions about university and career choices.

--> Submit your own question here. <--

Lauren Quattrochi

Lauren Quattrochi, , MA, MA, PhD
NIH Senior Neuroscience Informaticist

Clinical Quality Informatics

Dr. Lauren Quattrochi is a Senior Neuroscience Informaticist at MITRE, who seeks to empower the scientific community through accelerating biomedical research funding opportunities. Dr. Quattrochi has a diverse background ranging from experiences in the pharmaceutical industry, non-profits and government-funded entities - which she integrates to identify systemic research gaps and challenges. She obtained her doctorate from Brown University, where she discovered a novel type of ganglion photoreceptor - the M6 cell. Prior to MITRE, Dr. Quattrochi directed a national initiative to align the interests of the public with the medical community in clinical trial publication bias and design, as well as facilitating evidence-based advancements at Sense About Science USA.

Keylie Gibson

Keylie Gibson
Ph.D. Student

George Washington University

I attended the University of Central Oklahoma for my undergraduate degree where I earned a B.S. in Forensic Science – Molecular Biology and a B.S. in Biology with a minor in chemistry. I am currently a first year in the Ph.D. program in Biological Sciences at George Washington University and am advised in the Computation Biology Institute. I am broadly interested in population genetics, bioinformatics, and molecular biology and evolution related to infectious diseases, forensic science, and Monarch butterflies. I am also interested in biological anthropology and applying computational biology approaches to the social sciences. Outside of science, I enjoy baking and being outdoors, and I am an avid movie goer.

Keith Hughitt

V. Keith Hughitt
Post-doctoral Fellow
Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics (LCBG), NIH/NCI

Dr. Keith Hughitt is a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) research fellow working in the lab of Dr. Bevery Mock at NIH/NCI.  His current research efforts are focused on the development of novel approaches for the integrative analysis of large-scale drug screen and molecular profiling datasets, in order to detect biomarkers related to patient response to drug treatment. Other interests include open and reproducible research methods and efficient software engineering approaches for the sciences. Prior to graduate studies at UMD, Keith spent close to five years working on visualization and data analysis problems in the solar physics division at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Eldred A. Ribeiro

Eldred A. Ribeiro, Ph. D
Healthcare Systems, Principal


Dr. Eldred Ribeiro is interested in solving complex problems in Healthcare and Clinical Research by leveraging interdisciplinary scientific knowledge and information technology. Prior to joining MITRE, he served as the data manager on the Biomedical Translational Research Information System (BTRIS), utilized by the National Institutes of Health to aggregate patient information used in Clinical Trials.

While serving for nearly a decade as an R&D scientist at Bio-Rad Laboratories (California), Eldred was instrumental in the design of many recognition and signal processing algorithms, biotechnology applications and instruments for use in Genomics and Proteomics research. His interest in bioinformatics and biotechnology instrumentation was fueled during his post-doctoral work at Brookhaven National Laboratory (New York) where he developed computer analysis for DNA electrophoresis patterns used in sequencing and mapping during the Human Genome Project. During the seminal years of the use of DNA Profiling to establish identity for forensic purposes, Eldred served as an expert scientific witness in the California court system.

Eldred has a Doctorate in Physics from Clemson University, where he developed biophysical techniques for quantifying UV-induced damage to DNA using gel electrophoresis. He is a National Science Talent Scholar, with a Masters in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Eldred advocates instilling STEM interest in youth by conducting seminars in biomedical topics for high school students and by serving as a judge in science fairs at the regional, state, and international levels.

Dr. Amarda Shehu

Dr. Amarda Shehu

Department of Computer Science
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA

Dr. Amarda Shehu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at George Mason University. She holds affiliated appointments in the School of Systems Biology and the Department of Bioengineering at George Mason University. She received her B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY in 2002 and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rice University in Houston, TX in 2008, where she was an NIH fellow of the Nanobiology Training Program of the Gulf Coast Consortia. Shehu's research contributions are in computational structural biology, biophysics, and bioinformatics with a focus on issues concerning the relationship between sequence, structure, dynamics, and function in biological molecules. Her research on probabilistic search and optimization algorithms for protein structure modeling is supported by various NSF programs, including Intelligent Information Systems, Computing Core Foundations, and Software Infrastructure. Shehu is also the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and two Jeffress Memorial Trust Awards.

Nick Weber

Nick Weber
Lead, Translational Bioinformatics Program

NIAID OCICB Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch (BCBB)
Rockville, MD

Since 2009, Nick Weber has served as an intern, analyst, project manager, product owner, and program lead at the National Institutes of Health. He has a passion for leading “learning teams” that strive to deliver novel, useful, and sustainable applications and databases for the global scientific research community. Nick applies his interdisciplinary education in science, technology, and management to innovative projects that include Nephele, a platform for enabling scalable and standardized microbiome data analysis using the Amazon cloud, and the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a toolkit and repository for creating and sharing 3D-printable models for biomedicine.


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Neuroscience Workshop
Room 326

The workshop will introduce the central nervous system encompassing the brain and spinal cord and the function of the brain. The three parts of the brain, cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem will be explained. The division of brain into two cerebral hemispheres with four lobes encompassing the hemispheres, occipital, temporal, parietal and frontal lobes and each lobe’s function will be introduced. Brain cells or Neurons, their important parts such as the axon, dendrites will be introduced along with their function and biological neural networks. A hands on activity of building a physical model of the brain and the neuron will be conducted. Scientific software, Sci-kit will be utilized to model action potentials of the neuron. Topics will also cover Neurodegenerative diseases and tumors of the brain and how medical imaging is helping in diagnosis and treatment of these.

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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Models in Bioinformatics
Room 327

The workshop will focus on various problems in bioinformatics and computational biology which can be solved using artificial intelligence and machine learning models. An overview of several such problems will be presented and one of them will be used as a practical example. The students will learn the basics of creating a training set to build the model and a test set to validate the model. Weka, an open source machine learning program, will be used to generate predictive models using different machine learning algorithms and analyze the models' performance.

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Biomedical Bioinformatics Workshop
Room 223

Biomedical research primarily focuses on the biology of human health and disease and ranges from human biology to more specialized areas such as human genomics, human genetics, human physiology, and human nutrition. We will begin the journey with an experimental expressed sequence tag (EST) obtained from a patient. EST is a short sub-sequence of a cDNA sequence. In general, ESTs may be used to identify gene transcripts, and are instrumental in gene discovery and determination. We continue to identify candidate genes expressing them, and to determine matching exon-intron structures. We will then identify a disease gene contributing to the disease phenotype using the human genome browser.

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Whodunit? Forensics with DNA & Bioinformatics Workshop
Room 222

The workshop will analyze DNA sequence data to identify the gene(s) involved and identify the context of the samples by linking to PubMed records. You will analyze DNA sequence data using local alignment, global alignment, multiple sequence alignment tools and then use your multiple sequence alignment to estimation evolutionary (phylogenetic) relationships amongst the sequences.  With the phylogeny in hand, you will then solve the forensic mystery and decide if the accused is innocent or guilty of an alleged crime. You will gain experience using a diversity of open-access tools that are all available online.

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Saturday, January 12, 2019
09:00 AM 10:00 AM Registration Innovation Hall
Lower Lobby
10:00 AM 10:50 AM Keynote
Dr. David Fenstermacher
Vice President R&D-Bioinformatics
Medimmune, LLC.
Innovation Hall
Room 105
11:00 AM 12:00 PM Workshops
Session A
Innovation Hall
Rooms 222, 223, 326, 327
12:00 PM 01:00 PM Lunch Innovation Hall
Lower Lobby
01:00 PM 02:00 PM Workshops
Session B
Innovation Hall
Rooms 222, 223, 326, 327
02:00 PM 02:15 PM Transition break
02:15 PM 03:15 PM Workshops
Session C
Innovation Hall
Rooms 222, 223, 326, 327
03:15 pm 04:45 pm Panel Discussion Innovation Hall
Room 105
04:45 pm 05:00 pm Closing Ceremony Innovation Hall
Room 105

*Children under 18 MUST be accompanied by their parent (parents also need to register individually for a ticket).

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Dr. David Fenstermacher, Vice President R&D-Bioinformatics, Medimmune, LLCDr. David Fenstermacher is currently the Vice President R&D-Bioinformatics at Medimmune, LLC. With more than 30 years of research experience as a molecular biologist and bioinformaticist, he has held several academic appointments at multiple universities and participated in several national and international informatics projects.

During his eighteen years in biomedical informatics, David has designed and directed the implementation of numerous bioinformatics and biomedical informatics distributed computing systems to support basic, translational and clinical research, including multiple institution research projects. He has also designed data warehouses that integrate patient-level clinical data, genomics (genome-wide association studies, massively parallel sequencing, array-based technologies) and other ‘omics data to support studies focused on cancer and other human diseases. Data management systems designed by David have included: collection and integration of subject clinical data; data quality methodologies, development of web-based forms for input, storage and retrieval of clinical and research data, customized data representations using data governance principles and data sharing technologies. Most recent academic research focused on developing informatics resources that span the informatics continuum of Bioinformatics, Biomedical Informatics and Clinical/Medical Informatics specifically for precision medicine including clinical decision support, and health outcomes research.

Before joining MedImmune, David served as the Chief Research Information Officer for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and was Founding Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

David received his B.S. in Biology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Exclusively for members

  • Member Discount

    ISCB Members enjoy discounts on conference registration (up to $150), journal subscriptions, book (25% off), and job center postings (free).

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    Connecting, Collaborating, Training, the Lifeblood of Science. ISCB, the professional society for computational biology!


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