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ISCB Announces Award Winners


David Eisenberg and Goncalo Abecasis Named 2013 ISCB Award Winners

The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award and Overton Prize Award. This year's winner of the Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award is David S. Eisenberg of the University of California, Los Angeles. The Overton Prize Award winner is Goncalo Abecasis of the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

The ISCB Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award recognizes preeminent members of the computational biology community who have made major contributions to the field of computational biology through research, education, and service. David Eisenberg exemplifies these qualifications. Eisenberg is professor of chemistry and biochemistry and biological chemistry at UCLA, as well as HHMI Investigator and director of the UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics. He studies protein interactions by X-ray crystallography, bioinformatics, and biochemistry, with an emphasis on amyloid-forming proteins. This recently recognized protein state offers opportunities to understand cells in health and disease, and in synthesizing new materials and in understanding processes as diverse as biofilms and corrosion.

Eisenberg has published over 300 papers, he has been cited nearly 50,000 times, and holds half a dozen patents. His numerous awards and accolades include the Harvey Prize in Human Health in 2008, the UCLA Seaborg Medal in 2004, the Stein and Moore Award of the Protein Society in 2000, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Institute of Medicine.

ISCB established the Overton Prize in memory of G. Christian Overton, a major contributor to the field of bioinformatics and founding member of the ISCB Board of Directors, who died unexpectedly in 2000. The Overton Prize is awarded annually to an emerging scientist, in the early to middle stage of their career, who is recognized for outstanding accomplishment and significant contribution to the field of computational biology through research, education, and/or service. ISCB is pleased to honor Goncalo Abecasis, Felix E. Moore Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan, with this award.

Abecasis has been instrumental in the development of computational and statistical approaches for the analysis of human variation and disease. His work focuses on the use of linkage disequilibrium derived from high-throughput data in order to map complex disease susceptibility genes. Methods developed by Abecasis enabled construction of the first chromosome-wide linkage disequilibrium map in humans, provided graphical tools for exploring haplotypes of interest, and provided software for variant calling which was used in the 1000 Genomes Project. Work in his lab is facilitating the identification of genes involved in diabetes, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and other age-related traits.

Abecasis has demonstrated an immense talent for identifying important challenges in modern, high-throughput biology, and has developed excellent computational and statistical methods to address these. He has produced many notable papers, with more than 150 well-quoted articles. Among his many awards and honors, Abecasis is the recipient of the University of Michigan School of Public Health Research Excellence Award in 2008 and was named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences in 2005. He was presented with the Fulker Award in 2000 from the Behavior Genetics Association.

In naming Abecasis as the 2013 Overton Prize Award winner, ISCB recognizes not only the outstanding contributions of Abecasis, but also the importance of the field of statistical genetics and its important relationship to computational biology and bioinformatics.

ISCB will present the Senior Scientist Award and Overton Prize Award at its 21st Annual Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology Conference, which takes place with the 12th European Conference on Computational Biology (ISMB/ECCB 2013) in Berlin, Germany, July 19-23, 2013.  Eisenberg and Abecasis will present their work in keynote talks at ISMB/ECCB 2013.

Full bibliographical articles highlighting the award recipients will be available in the ISMB/ECCB 2013 focus issue of the ISCB newsletter later this year.

About ISCB

ISCB, the International Society for Computational Biology, is a global community of 3000+ scientists dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems through computation. ISCB convenes the world's experts and future leaders in top conferences and publications that promote discovery and expand access to computational biology and bioinformatics. We deliver valuable information about training, education, employment, and relevant news. ISCB provides an influential voice on government and scientific policies that are important to our members and benefit the public.