{ C O N T E N T S }
Volume 11, Issue 1

President’s Letter

SCS4 Highlights

ISCB Honors
David Haussler
& Aviv Regev

The ISMB Organization
& Future Vision

PLoS Computational Biology Overview

11th Israeli Bioinformatics
Symposium Report

Taking a Stand on Software Sharing

ISCB Members Speak Out on US Entry Visa Issues

ISCB’s New Software
Sharing Statement


ISCB Student Council

Post Your Events with ISCB

MentorNet Report Card: Year Two

Calling all Leaders!

Become an ISMB Reporter

In Memory of
Kamalakar-Rao Mettani

FASEB Update

Rocky ‘08

Key Dates for Key Conferences

Conferences & Events

Cover Image




Copyright © 2008
International Society for
Computational Biology.
All rights reserved.


Welcome to ISMB 2008!
A Note from ISCB president
Burkhard Rost

In the year that has passed since my last welcome message on behalf of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), a team of us has worked hard in preparation of this year’s conference in Toronto, the 16th International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB).

This will be our second year of managing this conference almost completely from ISCB resources and it will be the second massively parallel conference. If the result is anything like last year in Vienna, we are certainly creating something extraordinary within the growing selection of computational biology conferences. ISMB 2008’s offering of parallel tracks includes original and previously published research papers (Highlights tracks), Special Sessions expanding the width by presenting evolving areas, Special Interest Group meetings (SIGs for the first time partially rolled into the main meeting), technology demonstrations and workshops, a focus on Science in industry, an extensive vendor exhibition, a perspective on science beyond science, as well as the ever-important poster sessions.

Even the pre-conference days are completely parallel now, with Special Interest Groups and a Satellite Meeting (SIGs) overlapping the Student Council Symposium (SCS4) on day one, overlapping with the Tutorials on day two, and even extending into the main ISMB meeting in an effort to shorten the span of the entire event. During Keynote talks and social breaks all 1500 attendees of the main meeting will gather. We have shortened ISMB to expand on these precious opportunities for communication. At all other times the participants will be choosing from among ~200 talks in the evermore specialized topic areas of our science today.

Let me use this opportunity to explain a few realities that surround ISMB. Firstly, finding a venue is very difficult: With our current model, we need a venue with at least 7 rooms each of which can seat 700 participants, and one of which can seat at least 1800. There are surprisingly few such places and many of the existing ones are very expensive and/or by far too large to suit our purpose. Finding ideal places is a challenge and generates substantial overhead; the Metro Toronto Convention Center suits our needs in many ways uniquely well.

Secondly, ISCB needs ISMB to be an immense success in many ways in order to flourish. One primary goal in the way we organize ISMB is to integrate the needs of anyone researching in the field of computational biology. This goal is at the heart of the width and massively parallel organization introduced at ISMB/ECCB 2007 in Vienna and expanded even further in Toronto. Note that over 44% of all the talks at any ISMB since 1998 have been presented in Vienna or will be presented in Toronto! This amazing dynamic creates many challenges. The simplest is overload of you. We addressed that by NOT expanding the duration, instead, we have now shortened the sessions to create more time for communication and we shortened the entire event (pre- and main ISMB) by a day.

Thirdly, ISCB is your society and ISMB is your meeting. We need you, need your participation and input. Not everyone can act as an editor or chair, but you all can help during the meeting and in preparation of future ISMBs. For instance by spreading the news, by bringing others with you, by helping us to improve the meeting and the society, and by enjoying yourselves!

The personal reward in organizing a conference of this scale is realized through the relationships that grow and partnerships that solidify in the course of working together. I extend the gratitude of ISCB to honorary co-chair Thomas Hudson, a significant international figure, who is building an exceptional center of research excellence here in Toronto. I thank and hug my co-chairs Jill Mesirov and Michal Linial for their unwavering commitment to the task of creating something substantial for the benefit of the scientific community. Many thanks to the Steering Committee members Janet Kelso, Thomas Lengauer, David Rocke, Reinhard Schneider, Alfonso Valencia, Shoshana Wodak, and to the members of the Scientific Organizing Committee, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, Dietlind Gerloff, Rodrigo Lopez, Marco Punta and Hershel Safer. A big thanks also to Sean O’Donoghue and Lars Jensen for organizing the ISMB Matrix Party.

The review and selection of scientific presentations for all tracks, as well as selection of the special interest groups, satellite meeting, tutorials and determination of recipients of the limited travel fellowship funds are thanks to the volunteerism of hundreds of reviewers led by editors (Area Chairs) and session chairs. Unfortunately, this space does not afford me the option to name them all, but I hope all of you know how grateful I am for the high quality of the final selections that make up the scientific program.

All logistics have been orchestrated by the ISCB Conferences Director Steven Leard and his Canadian-based team, and supported by the California-based ISCB administrative office led by Executive Officer BJ Morrison McKay. On-site assistance has been provided by dozens of local volunteers who will help you around, and the city of Toronto has been enormously accommodating to all our activities and I know is putting in considerable resources for welcoming all our ISMB attendees arriving from near and far.

As of this writing ISMB 2008 Toronto has yet to begin its first session, but I would be remiss not to look ahead and mention to mark your calendar now for ISMB/ECCB 2009 taking place in Stockholm, Sweden, June 27-July 2.

Until then, enjoy the conference!

Burkhard Rost
President, ISCB