16th Annual
International Conference
Intelligent Systems
for Molecular Biology

Metro Toronto Convention Centre (South Building)
Toronto, Canada


Call For Visual Reflections On Science Works

Visual Reflections on Science is an event organized by the ISCB Student Council, a student-led section of ISCB whose mission is the development of the next generation of computational biologists.

ISMB 2008 will bring together scientists from a wide range of disciplines, including biology, medicine, computer science, mathematics and statistics. In these fields we are constantly dealing with information in visual form: from microscope images and photographs of gels to scatter plots, network graphs and phylogenetic trees, structural formulae and protein models to flow diagrams; visual aids for problem-solving are omnipresent.

Often they are mundane and nothing more than a small clue to the solution of the problem. But then there are the special ones that make the whole more than the sum of its parts. Ones that combine outstanding beauty and aesthetics with deep insight that perfectly proves the validity of our approach or goes beyond the problem's solution. Ones that surprise and inspire us through the transition from science to art, ones that open our eyes and minds to reflect on the work we are doing.

For the ISMB 2008 Visual Reflections on Science (VRS) Session the organizers invite all interested conference attendees (hereafter referred to as "artists") to submit such images and videos ("artworks") that have been generated as part of a research project. They are also soliciting images and videos resulting from creative efforts that involve scientific concepts or employ scientific tools and methods.

Participate in this exciting new ISMB event to surprise and inspire us, to open our eyes and minds.

Submission Schedule
Sunday, February 10, 2008 Call for VRS Works Opens
Friday, April 11, 2008
Artwork Submission Deadline. You have until 11:59 pm in a time zone of your choice.
Friday, April 18, 2008 VRS Works Acceptance Notification


  • Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern (Chair)
  • Manuel Corpas
  • Nils Gehlenborg
  • All questions pertaining to the VRS Session should be directed to

    Advisory Committee

  • Burkhard Rost
  • Michal Linial
  • Ellen K.Levy (artist, Complexity Art)
  • Exhibition

    The VRS Session will take place in form of an exhibition for the duration of ISMB 2008. A space has been set aside where the submitted artwork can be viewed in a relaxed atmosphere off the hectic hustle and bustle of the conference.

    Artists are asked to submit images and videos for this exhibition. Videos will be projected in the exhibition space. Images will be shown both in physical form and projected as part of a slide show during the exhibition. It is planned to incorporate parts of the exhibition into other ISMB 2008 events such as the opening reception, keynote talks or the awards ceremony. It is also being considered to display images from the exhibition throughout the whole conference venue.


    Images presented in physical form and videos will automatically enter a contest for a $200 (USD) award unless the artist indicates during the submission process that the work should be excluded from the contest. Images that are only projected will be excluded from the contest.

    ISMB delegates will select the winner of the contest through majority vote based on their personal preference. Each delegate will have one vote.

    Submission Guidelines

    An artist can be an individual or a group of individuals. Each artist may submit one video or one image for presentation in physical form and projection. In addition to this all artists may submit images for projection only. The artist has to indicate during submission of images if the image is to be presented in physical form. If the artist submits multiple images for presentation in physical form only the first one will be considered. Space for physical presentation of images is limited and will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis.

    The artwork may deal with any theme in science but the organizers are particularly interested in work that is reflecting on topics related to Computational and Molecular Biology. While artistic freedom is a primary concern of the organizers the nature of the event requires certain restrictions on the content of the artwork. Artwork that contains sexual, political or religious themes cannot be accepted into the exhibition and will be rejected. Works created for commercial purposes will also be rejected.

    The final artwork has to be submitted for review before the deadline through the online submission system. Together with the artwork a brief description of the work has to be submitted as well as a title for the work. The description must not be longer than 250 words.

    Videos have to be in MPEG format and no more than 4 minutes long. The file size of the video must not exceed 100 MB. It must be possible to decode videos with standard software. The maximum resolution for videos is 1024x768 pixels. Videos may include sound.

    Images to be presented in physical form must be smaller than 43 x 43 (109.2 cm x 109.2 cm). They must not be deeper than 0.5 (1.2 cm) and must be attachable to a poster board using velcro. The organizers recommend to leave a sufficiently wide border around the artwork and to carefully consider the size of photos and the amount of detail included in images. All images must be submitted in their final form and resolution. In case of images employing non-digital media a high-resolution digital photo of the artwork has to be submitted. Images can be submitted in PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF or PDF format. The file size must not exceed 25 MB. Artists whose images are accepted into the exhibition for presentation in physical form will have to bring the final images to the conference. For projection images will be scaled down to a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. The aspect ratio will be maintained. The organizers recommend keeping this in mind when designing images that are submitted for projection only.

    Online submission system


    All submitted artwork will be reviewed for compliance with content restrictions as well as technical requirements. Artwork out of compliance will be rejected. Furthermore, the organizers reserve the right to reject artwork for any reasons.

    Copyrights and Permissions

    The artist must be holding the copyrights for all parts of the artwork or have permission from the copyright holders to use their works. Copyright holders other than the artist must be attributed accordingly in the abstract accompanying the artwork.

    By submitting artwork to the VRS Session the artist gives permission to the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) to display this work and reproductions thereof during ISMB 2008 and in materials associated with this and future ISCB events, such as program booklets, (electronic) newsletters, promotional brochures and websites.


    Video examples

    Image Examples

    Individually Marked Ants:

    Stephen Pratt, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

    Virus-Cell Interaction

    Joerg Schroeer, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

    Moving Wave - Optical Illusion:

    A. Kitaoka

    All questions pertaining to the ISMB 2008 Visual Reflections in Science should be directed to:

    **VRS Submissions**

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