{ 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

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2003 Overton Prize

  2003 Overton Prize Recipient, Jim Kent

The ISCB will award the Overton Prize for 2003 to W. James Kent, an assistant research scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of computational biology, will be presented at ISMB2003, where Kent will deliver the annual Overton Lecture on July 1, 2003.

Kent is best known as the researcher who "saved" the human genome project, a feat chronicled in the New York Times. With little more than a month before the company Celera was to present a complete draft of the human genome to the White House in 2000, Kent wrote GigAssembler, a program that produced the first full working draft assembly of the human genome, which kept the data freely available in the public domain.

Kent's main scientific goal has been to understand gene regulation by building bioinformatics tools such as his Intronerator system for exploring the genome of C. elegans; the program WABA, one of the first pair-HMMs for alignment of genomic DNA of two species; Improbiser, an expectation-maximization method to discover and cluster potential transcription factor binding sites; and the popular BLAT, which rapidly searches full genomes at both the DNA and protein levels.

The Overton Prize was established by the ISCB in memory of G. Christian Overton, a major contributor to the field of bioinformatics and member of the ISCB Board of Directors who died unexpectedly in 2000. The prize, now in its third year, is awarded for outstanding accomplishment to a scientist in the early- to mid- stage of his or her career who has already made a significant contribution to the field of computational biology through research, education, service, or a combination of the three.

Previous winners of the Overton Prize have included David Baker, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and associate professor at the University of Washington for his outstanding contributions in genomics, and Christopher Burge, assistant professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his work identifying and modeling genes in higher eukaryotic organisms.