Travel Fellowship Recipients and Executive Officer (clockwise
from far left): Mallika Veeramalai, Sivakumar Kannan, Markus
Wistrand, BJ Morrison McKay, Ming Chen, Einat Sitbon, Bin Hu,
B.V.L.S. Prasad, Laszlo Kajan, (not pictured: Englebert Mephu
The first European
Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) took place in Saarbrücken,
Germany, October 8-10, 2002. As a new international conference in
the ever-widening circuit of bioinformatics meetings, ECCB was proud
to host 459 attendees representing 30 countries around the globe.
In his opening address, Thomas Lengauer, former ISCB vice president
and ECCB 2002 conference chair said, I think it can be safely
said that the ECCB conference series stands on firm ground.
The idea for holding a European conference originated with Martin
Vingron, who believed that each of the European national conferences
could be elevated to become the ECCB on a rotational basis, drawing
increased attention and attendance. Some of the national conferences
are already quite large and interesting, such as the Nordic countries,
the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and others in Italy and Spain
are growing fast, said Alfonso Valencia, ISCB board member.
From political and scientific points of view it is clear that
this will increase the visibility of the area and improve the quality
of the national conferences. ECCB 2002 was a merged effort
of the annual German Conference on Bioinformatics. The French Conference
on Computational Biology, known as JOBIM, will rise to the occasion
of hosting ECCB in Paris, September 27-30, 2003. In all cases, the
official language of the ECCB conference series will be English,
which is a break from tradition for some of the national conferences
Promising to illuminate many different corners of this field, the
three-day conference program featured 26 talks selected from 83
paper submissions, and eight internationally renowned invited speakers
who presented the state of the art in their fields of research.
As Lengauer said, Some of them are computational biologists.
Others are biologists that provide the experimental groundwork for
computational biology research. In short, computational biology
is a wide and interdisciplinary field. In addition, 190 posters
reflecting the current state of ongoing projects were available
for all attendees to view throughout the conference.
ISCB board members Søren Brunak and Alfonso Valencia were
among the session chairs, and ISCB President, Philip Bourne, presented
a paper. Both Bourne and ISCB Executive Officer, BJ Morrison McKay,
addressed the group with information and updates about our Societys
continued membership growth, new initiatives, and interactions with
affiliated groups and conferences worldwide. McKay also had the
pleasure of distributing nine travel fellowships from ISCB to member
students from around the globe to help make it possible for them
to attend ECCB.
Discussions are now underway to share ideas of how ISCB and ECCB
can further support one anothers efforts. As a stated goal
of the ISCB is to increase understanding of the significance
of our endeavor in the larger scientific community, government,
and the public at large, increased interactions with affiliated
regional groups and conferences in all regions of the world will
certainly help to advance that goal on a truly international scale.
Not only is it certain that ECCB stands on firm ground, but computational
biology is firmly planted as a scientific discipline, and the more
the Society can all contribute to its awareness, the stronger we
will grow as a scientific community. The ISCB is pleased to have
participated in this new European conference series, and hope to
continue to play a part as it flourishes in the years ahead.