{ C O N T E N T S }
Volume 7, Issue 4

President's Letter
A Year in Review

ISCB Membership
2005 Registration Now Open

Giving is Free!

PSB 2005
ISCB Open Meeting Planned

ISMB 2005

Save the Date!

Special Interest Groups
Reports from ISMB/ECCB 2004

Travel Fellowships
Student & Post Doc Awards

ISCB Student Council
Our Vision, Our Future

FASEB Update

Public Affairs and Policies
Committee Update

Officer Election Results

New Board Members
Take Office January 2005

University of British Columbia
Genetics Graduate Program Retreat

Marketing Opportunities
Advertising & Corporate Memberships

MidSouth Comp Bio & Bioinformatics Society
Recap of the 2nd Annual Meeting

Events and Opportunities
Bioinformatics Events Worldwide

News from the Field



Copyright © 2004 International Society for Computational Biology. All rights reserved.

UBC Genetics Graduate Program Retreat

Submitted by Carri-Lyn Mead, University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia Genetics Graduate Program hosts a retreat each year to give all students in the program an opportunity to show their work and learn what their colleagues are working on. The Genetics Graduate Program is composed of over 100 faculty and students from a wide spectrum of research, all of whom are able to participate in the retreat. The retreat involves poster sessions interspersed with guest speakers that are leaders in various areas of genetics followed by an awards dinner in the evening where one poster from each session is awarded a travel award of $300.

The 2004 retreat represented not only the wide breadth of clinical molecular genetic research, but a strong contingent of bioinformatics research as well. Forty-six students (in 2nd year and above) participated in the retreat by presenting a poster of their research. The posters were divided into sessions of approximately 12 posters each. Each poster session allowed those 12 students to present their work to a panel of peer and faculty judges. At the end of the day, each session chose 1 student as having the best overall presentation, poster, and research project. This year there were 4 winners. Evette Haddad investigated a novel pathway of lymphocyte activation by bacterial carbohydrates. Suganthi Chittaranjan explored the role of a novel gene (CG4091) involved in autophagic cell death in fruit fly larvae. Kris Palma looked into why a particular strain of Arabidopsis is especially resistant to infection. Brad Dykstra presented work in which he was able to restore the entire hematopoietic system in mice using a single stem cell. The judging panels each remarked that choosing a single poster winner was a difficult task as there were many posters in each session that represented outstanding work.

One unique aspect of the retreat is that it is entirely student organized and run. A small organizing committee of student volunteers is formed each year who address every aspect of the retreat, including getting sponsorship, organizing student involvement, and the tiny details involved in the day of the retreat and the awards dinner at the end.

Each year leading researchers in genetics are invited to come and speak at the retreat. This year, the retreat had three fabulous speakers: Dr. Tim Caulfield (Canada Research Chair in Health Law & Policy, University of Alberta), Dr. Marco Marra (Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre), and Dr. Philip Hieter (Michael Smith Laboratories). Each of the speakers presented an aspect of their own research that had either recently been discovered, or was in the process of being investigated.

“The Retreat is one of the first opportunities for many students to present their work and helps them prepare to give talks and write papers in the future” commented one of the retreat student participants. The UBC Genetics Graduate Program Retreat is an example of all of the best parts of scientific research coming together: student researchers having the opportunity to display their work and put it in context with their peers, leading researchers of the community contributing by presenting some of the cutting edge research they are actively working on, acknowledgement of outstanding students through travel awards, and behind it all an active student body working to make it all possible.

The UBC Genetics Graduate Retreat was generously sponsored by the Genetics Graduate Program, IBM, the CIHR/MSFHR Bioinformatics Training Program, Genome BC, VWR, BD Biosciences, Invitrogen, BC Lions, Vancouver Aquarium, Qiagen, Applied Biosystems, Roche, Fisher, Aramark, Amersham/GE Healthcare, Sigma, Carsen Group, and Beckman.