Marks for ISCB's First Regional Conference: Rocky I
first annual ISCB Rocky Mountain Regional Bioinformatics Conference
(Rocky 1) was held December 5-7, 2003, in Aspen, Colorado. Approximately
70 attendees, mostly from Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
Utah and Alberta, presented short talks and posters. Although most
attendees were from the Rocky Mountain area, the meeting was not
limited to regional scientists; two attendees came from as far as
Singapore (as part of a trip that will also include the PSB conference
in Hawaii in January).
1 began with a spectacular dinner atop Aspen Mountain and an after-dinner
talk by Larry Hunter on biognostic machines. At an altitude of over
11,000 feet, the evening was breathtaking in every way! Keynote
speakers during the three conference days included Marcie McClure
on retroid elements in the human genome, Jeff Shen on using genomics
to understand rice hormonal response, Lisa Cannon-Albright on the
construction and application of the Utah Population Genetics Database,
and Walter Fontana on a new theoretical foundation for a Biology
of Information. More than 30 short talks touched on a broad range
of both computational and biological topics. The focus of the meeting
was not only sharing research results, but also building community
and getting to know the people and resources involved in bioinformatics
in the Rocky Mountain region. Between the morning and evening scientific
sessions, informal interactions were encouraged with discounted
lift tickets and excellent early season snow. A survey taken after
the conference showed 80% of respondents expected new collaborations
to arise from the meeting, and 90% would attend next year if the
meeting were held again.
meeting was organized by ISCB's capable conference planner, Stephanie
Hagstrom, and Co-chaired by Larry Hunter and Stephen Billups, both
from the University of Colorado. Generous sponsorships from IBM,
Apple, Silicon Genetics and Genvea allowed ISCB to keep the meeting
affordable and to make a small profit that will go back to the Society
for future activities. Given the highly positive response from all
attendees, ISCB is exploring options to plan Rocky 2 in late 2004.
1 was also an experiment for ISCB to explore the success of holding
regional meetings; if you might be interested in hosting a regional
meeting in your area, please contact the ISCB at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference committee will evaluate the feasibility of all requests.