{ C O N T E N T S }
volume 6, issue 2

President’s Letter

Register for ISMB 2003

ISCB Board Nominations

ISMB 2003

Jim Kent

David Sankoff

Best Paper Award by SGI

ISMB 2003 Committees

Sydney Brenner

ISMB 2004

ISMB 2006

Affiliated Conferences

ISCB Staff Introduction

Affiliated Regional Groups

Events and Opportunities

Newsletter Homepage

Download Newsletter pdf

Vancouver 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.

VanBUG attracts 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.

VanBUG's inaugural 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.

Included in 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 dev@vanbug.org.

VanBUG is generously sponsored by Genome British Columbia and IBM.

Spotlight: Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet)

Little over 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 sponsorships.

APBioNet was 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 skills.

APBioNet Secretariat 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.

APBioNet has 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).

"That is a lot of things to do in a short time frame, but the field is moving so rapidly," said Tan.

APBioNet's outreach 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 attend InCOB..

In addition 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.

APBioNetters 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/.