Bioinformatics Users Group
Once a month,
over 150 members of the bioinformatics community in the Vancouver
area of British Columbia Canada, amass for VanBUG, the Vancouver
Bioinformatics Users Group. This isn't a meeting of enthusiasts
of some obscure VW, but instead an effort to coordinate and exchange
ideas within the Pacific northwest's bioinformatics community.
local researchers, students and other interested professionals to
hear seminars from respected bioinformaticians from the local area
and from around the world. VanBUG strives to expose the community
to cutting-edge research, approaches that could be applied to each
individual's day to day work, and some of the challenges other researchers
have overcome, or see looming on the horizon.
session hosted respected scientists such as Lincoln Stein (Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory), Steven Jones (Canada's Michael Smith
Genome Sciences Centre), Wyeth Wasserman (Centre for Molecular Medicine
and Therapeutics) and, VanBUG's co-founder, Francis Ouellette (UBC
Bioinformatics Centre). The second season has delivered again to
the community by hosting Nat Goodman (Institute for Systems Biology),
amiably known as the "IT guy" from Genome Technology
magazine, as well as Anne Condon (University of British Columbia)
and Chris Upton (University of Victoria). All past talks are available
on our website.
this season is a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the publication
of the structure of DNA. VanBUG has arranged an evening panel of
local scientists who have seen or helped shaped the events of the
last 50 years to share their personal reflections on where we have
been and are going. And if that just isn't enough, pizza is free
and beer is cheap. To find out more about VanBUG's schedule visit
vanbug.org or contact the development team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VanBUG is generously
sponsored by Genome British Columbia and IBM.
Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet)
a year ago the Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet) became
an official affiliate of the ISCB, which involves cross-promotion
of the two societies through publications and conferences, a voice
for APBioNet to promote regional matters on the ISCB board, and
potential support for APBioNet's regional activities, such as travel
founded in January 1998 at the Pacific Symposium for Biocomputing
and has grown to over 500 members. The group has a strong record
of outreach around the Pacific Rim and Asia (with members as far
west as Pakistan and Europe), encouraging collaboration in the field
of bioinformatics in the Asia Pacific region as well as promoting
awareness among biologists of the need to acquire bioinformatics
Tan Tin Wee of the National University of Singapore predicts that
APBioNet's growth will keep pace with the overall growth of the
field in the Asia Pacific region. "Of course, the more benefits
and value-addedness we provide, the more people will come forward
to join," he said.
an ambitious set of short- and long-term goals. In the near term,
group is working on many initiatives, among them rolling out an
APBioGrid and workflow testbed, creating S* mirror sites in the
Asia Pacific region, supporting conferences, raising funds, encouraging
volunteers, and applying for grants to bring bioinformatics to developing
countries, such as the recently awarded APBioBox software development
project funded by the International Development Research Centre
of Canada (IDRC).
a lot of things to do in a short time frame, but the field is moving
so rapidly," said Tan.
efforts have begun to yield results for educational outreach, particularly
with the success of the S* Alliance, and for encouraging bioinformatics
in developing countries. APBioNet played a key role in inspiring
researchers in Thailand to initiate the InCOB conference, which
will be held in Penang, Malaysia this year, 8-10 September (cgat.ukm.my/incob/).
The ISCB is offering travel fellowships for APBioNet members to
APBioNet has begun coordinating not only with the ISCB, but also
OMG, BOST, I3C, and others to introduce Asia Pacific people to the
imperative of participating in standardization and open source initiatives.
are looking forward to ISMB 2003 and have been helping with administrative
tasks, through the organizing committee, and in providing supplementary
financial assistance for some participants. APBioNet's vice president
and ISCB Director Shoba Ranganathan of the National University of
Singapore will also be chairing one of the ISMB special interest
group meetings, WEB03.
More about APBioNet
can be found at www.apbionet.org/.