{ 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

Welcome to ISMB 2003

Finishing touches are being put on the program of the 11th international conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology, to be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia from 29 June to 3 July 2003.

At ISMB 2003 you’ll experience an exciting program of tutorials, keynotes, papers, posters, technical demonstrations and commercial displays in a modern world-class venue next to Brisbane’s South Bank parklands.

This year’s meeting features an especially high standard of content, as unprecedented numbers of submissions required an especially rigorous selection by our international Program Committee under Co-chair Gene Myers.

On June 29th, we will present 15 half-day tutorials taught by internationally recognised leaders in diverse areas of computational biology and bioinformatics. These 15 were selected from a highly competitive field of 48 proposals.

Our eight keynote speakers – including 2002 Nobel Prize winner Sydney Brenner – will take us to the forefront of both computational sciences and genomic biology. Our original intention was to invite four “biologists” and four “computational scientists”. But boundaries are fuzzy in computational biology, and it’s more accurate to see our eight keynotes as positioned at various points along the gradient between “computation” and “biology”.

Our 35 long and 13 short papers were selected from among an unprecedented 350 submissions. Full details (including abstracts) are now available on the conference website: www.iscb.org/ismb2003.

Again this year, ISMB continues to be supported by leading companies in computation, software, bioinformatics services, publishing and related industries, and by leading educational and research institutions. Our conference website carries information on our sponsors, trade exhibition and demos.

Five Special Interest Groups (BOSC, Bio-Pathways, Text mining, Bio-Ontologies, and WEB03) will meet just before ISMB 2003, on 27 and/or 28 June. For more information, follow the SIG link on the conference website.

The submission deadline for posters has now been extended to 19 May 2003. Posters submitted after that date will be accepted (if there’s still room—and the Brisbane Conference & Exhibition Centre provides a LOT of room) but your abstract may not be included in the abstract book. As of today we have almost 400 poster submissions.

Information on visas, air travel, special air fares (see below for more information), airport transfers, car rentals, and local transportation has now been posted at: www.iscb.org/ismb2003/trans_visas.shtml

Don't miss out on the Early Registration Discount! The deadline is May 23, 2003.

We all have heard the old Chinese malediction, “May you live in interesting times.” These are certainly interesting times in which to hold a major international conference! As the conflict in Iraq began to subside, the SARS situation began to intrude more and more into the headlines.

The World Health Organisation website (www.who.int/csr/sarscountry/en/) provides updates, six days a week, on probable SARS cases in all countries. As I write (12 May 2003) the WHO website says that there have been cumulatively 4 probable cases of SARS in Australia, all of whom have recovered.

The Australian Department of Health and Ageing website (www.health.gov.au/sars.htm) states: “Since the WHO health alert, Australia has intensified its disease surveillance capacity with information to hospitals, health workers and General Practitioners about symptoms to look for and infection control procedures to undertake if presented with a potential suspect case of SARS. While a number of patients in Australia have been placed under investigation after presenting with symptoms of the disease following recent travel from Asia, no cases of SARS have been found in Australia.”

The website of ICIAM-5 (www.iciam.org), a major international mathematics conference that will convene in Sydney the week after ISMB-2003, also has a range of useful information about travel to Australia, information about the four cases (all of whom, according to the site, recovered before April 17th), and links to other websites with SARS information relevant to travelers.

A major international agricultural trade fair and exhibition has just ended in Rockhampton, a few hundred km north of Brisbane, with large delegations from overseas and (according to the press) a record attendance of more than 50,000 over the 8-day event. The XIX Genetics Congress in Melbourne, scheduled the week after ISMB-2003, so far has more than 2100 registrants.

Websites and reports in the press assure us that there is a greater chance of being struck by lightning (1 in 5.3 million per year in Australia) than contracting SARS while transiting through an international connections area. Nonetheless, registrants from Europe who may be concerned about transiting through e.g. Singapore should be aware that excellent connections to and from Brisbane are available through Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei, Manila, the Gulf via Perth, and other routes. Travelers from North America will normally connect through Sydney or Auckland.

Please watch the conference website for information and announcements.

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia's "Sunshine State," is Australia's only subtropical capital city. Sophisticated yet friendly, Brisbane is a year-round city that enjoys warm, bright summers and clear, mild winters. Brisbane itself is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the best of Australia. A wide range of restaurants, theatre, museums, galleries, parks and wildlife areas (not to mention Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo) awaits. It is also the perfect jumping-off point for a tour to the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, or the fabulous Aussie Outback. Tropical rainforest, white sand beaches, offshore islands, sailing, and mountain hiking are but a few of the opportunities waiting for you. For more information: www.ourbrisbane.com and

Queensland is also Australia’s “Smart State”, with a burgeoning biotechnology industry and several bioinformatics firms. Consider spending an extra day to visit the world-class research facilities at e.g. the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

Room blocks have been reserved in Brisbane for ISMB 2003 at special conference rates. Conference attendees can book online via the accommodation web site: www.iscb.org/ismb2003/housing.shtml

Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has been appointed the official travel agency for the 11th International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology. CTM offers special flexible/changeable conference airfares at up to 40% discount in economy class on Qantas services or the best Internet or published airfares available on Qantas and Virgin Blue Airlines. Quotes can be requested via our travel page: www.iscb.org/ismb2003/trans_visas.shtml

In addition to the Special Interest Group meetings, note the First IECA Conference on Systems Biology of E. coli (just before ISMB 2003, June 23-25 in Tsuruoka, Japan) and the World Genetics Congress (just after ISMB 2003, July 6-11, 2003 in Melbourne, Australia). As well, the Fifth International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (www.iciam.org) will convene in Sydney from July 7-11. Follow the links on the ISMB 2003 website for information about these and other affiliated events.

Mark Ragan
Chair, ISMB-2003 Local Organising Committee