I have the honor
of being the first female Vice President of the ISCB as well as
representing my European colleagues on the Societys Executive
Committee. As such, I hope to succeed as efficiently and brilliantly
as my predecessors in keeping the Society vital and forward-looking.
I first became
interested in computational biology nearly twenty years ago, I took
a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of California,
San Franciscos (UCSF) Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics,
where I discovered molecular graphics. While at UCSF, my collaboration
with Henry Dayringer and Robert Fletterick, yielded the first version
of a popular molecular graphics package that is still widely used
today. Later, I joined Arthur Lesks group in the Biocomputing
Programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in
Heidelberg. The Programmecoordinated by Chris Sanderset
in motion the field of computational biology in Europe. Most active
research groups in Europe todayas well as a few in other parts
of the worldcan be traced back to that period and to the many
fruitful collaborations computational biologists initiated, over
a beer, in the EMBL canteen!
I suppose I
was witness to the adolescence of a science leaving infancy. Certainly
in silico biology is a mature science now experiencing immense popularity.
Sudden popularity in the movie business, as well as in science,
carries risks. Growing interest in bioinformatics and computational
biology may lead to an erosion of the terms caused by the temptation
to jump on the band wagon for the sake of the resources
that are becoming available.
In my view,
the Society has a duty to play an active role in minimizing the
negative effects of this new celebrity by setting rigorous scientific
standards, by expanding our community with the active recruitment
of young talented scientists, and by providing them with educational
ISMB, the Societys
annual meeting, represents the most effective tool for pursuing
these goals, through the rigorous selection process for scientific
contributions: the organization of tutorials, the visibility of
the meeting, and the diversity of scientific interests. The success
of the meeting continues to represent a precious and unique resource
for the development of bioinformatics and computational biology
I am extremely
optimistic about the role regional groups can play in the ISCB.
As an international society, we have the opportunity to face many
situations with different needs and expectations. We need to muster
the creativity, wisdom, and cooperation of everyone in the society
to ensure we remain engaged, both geographically and scientifically.
We must communicate and build strong bonds with local groups and
ask for their guidance during these exciting times.
In the few months
I have served as Vice President, I have discussed these issues with
a very responsive and attentive board of directors. I intend to
continue to support these causes and hope that the members of the
Society will continue to help me achieve my goals.