Leading Professional Society for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Connecting, Training, Empowering, Worldwide

ISCB News and Announcements

ISCB Celebrates Withdrawal of Research Works Act

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

As has been reported widely, the Research Works Act (RWA) that was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives late last year was withdrawn by the bill's sponsors on February 27th. ISCB took a strong stand against this bill that posed the latest threat to public access to federally funded research results. ISCB President, Burkhard Rost, together with Richard Lathrop, ISCB Public Affairs & Policies Committee Chair, and Scott Markel, ISCB Publications and Communications Committee Chair, signed a letter expressing our opposition and emphasizing the importance of the ISCB Public Policy Statement on Open Access to Scientific and Technical Research Literature. The letter was personalized and sent to each of the 39 members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the content of the letter was shared with all ISCB members and many of our scientific colleagues around the world. As a result, several scientific news publications and blogs reported on ISCB's efforts, and we considered it a victory when Elsevier withdrew its support of RWA days later and the bill was withdrawn soon thereafter.

Although the tides may be turning in favor of public access in the long run, it is doubtful that this will be the last veiled attempt to obstruct such access. If you are a member of ISCB and have not yet signed on to our policy statement, you can still do so at any time via the link to current signatories on the policy page noted above.

Thank you,

BJ Morrison McKay, ISCB Executive Officer

on behalf of Burkhard Rost, Richard Lathrop, Scott Markel, and the ISCB Board of Directors

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

The 20th Anniversary ISMB conference will be held July 15-17 in Long Beach, California - and we want you there!

Final Call for Posters - deadline March 16th

Final Call for Late Breaking Research (LBR) Track Abstracts -deadline March 9th

Please note, these are the final two submission opportunities that create eligibility for travel fellowship funding*

The above links will take you to the full details and guidelines for these ISMB presentation opportunities. From there you can also access the submission system to submit your work today.

The LBR Track provides authors an opportunity to present truly late breaking research to ISMB delegates. As submitted abstracts, there is no requirement to publish in the conference proceedings, nor to have previously published elsewhere. Therefore, work that is in progress and planned for future publication is welcome, and the LBR track is ideal for experimentalists as well as computer scientists. LBR presentations run in parallel to other conference sessions and accepted submissions will be given a 20-minute presentation slot (plus 5 minutes for questions) in the conference agenda.

Posters will be displayed and presented in one of two sessions during the conference. Posters are intended to convey a scientific result and are not advertisements for commercial software packages. Posters may cover any area of computational biology, and purely experimental work is encouraged. Posters must include original work that is unpublished or published after August 1, 2011.

* A note about Travel Fellowships: All student and post docs accepted for presentation in the Proceedings, Highlights, and Late Breaking Research tracks, along with Poster presenters accepted from the call for posters, are eligible to apply for travel fellowship funding. An invitation to apply for a Travel Fellowship is sent to each author who submitted work that was accepted for any of these tracks (note that submitters to the Late Call for Posters that will open later this month are not eligible for travel fellowship funding). If the submitter is not a student or post doc, but the work will be presented by a co-author named on the submission who is a student or post doc, the invitation can be passed to that person if funding is necessary to attend the conference. Due to limited funds, not all eligible applicants can be funded. We are typically able to fund no more than 20-30% of applicants, and awarded funds are limited to 50% of the total estimated costs to attend the conference, making additional funding from the presenter's institution or other sources necessary. Full details on the ISMB Travel Fellowship program will be available on the conference website within the next few days.

Additional opportunities still exist for presentations at the conference that are not eligible for Travel Fellowship funding. These include Workshops (March 10th deadline), Technology demonstrations (April 20th deadline), and Late Posters (opening March 19th with April 20th deadline). The 8th annual Student Council Symposium is also accepting submissions through April 2nd, and symposium presenters are eligible for special Travel Fellowship funding secured and awarded by the Student Council. You can find the submission deadlines and links to each of these remaining calls on the conference home page at ISMB 2012.

Registration will open in just a couple of weeks, so please help spread the word for the strongest possible participation by sharing this mail with your colleagues and collaborators.

The ISMB 2012 Conference Co-Chairs and every member of the Scientific Organizing Committee looks forward to welcoming you to Long Beach this July!

LBR Chair: Olga Troyanskaya, Princeton University, United States
LBR Co-chair: Florian Markowetz, Cambridge Research Institute, United Kingdom
LBR Co-chair: Ioannis Xenarios, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Geneva, Switzerland


Posters Chair: Yana Bromberg, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, United States

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

When making your conference plans for this year, don't forget the following ISCB-affiliated conferences. Each offers unique learning opportunities for you and your colleagues to further advance the understanding of our science and the communities we serve. ISCB members are offered a special discount just for being a member. Scroll down for details on upcoming key dates and opportunities.

VizBi 2012, Mar 6-8, Heidelberg, Germany
3rd annual Visualizing Biological Data conference, hosted by EMBL

  • Poster submission deadline: February 26th
  • Regular registration still available with 15% discount for ISCB members.
  • Virtual registration also an option for participation by streaming video and chat - deadline: March 2nd

AMIA Summit on Translational Bioinformatics 2012, Mar 19-21, San Francisco, USA
Part of the American Medical Informatics Association's joint summits on translational science; followed by the Summit on Clinical Informatics

  • Registration is still open.
  • ISCB members are eligible for a 10% registration discount - must use promotional code ISCB12.

RECOMB 2012, Apr 21-24, Barcelona, Spain
16th Annual Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology

  • ISCB members are eligible for a 10%
  • Poster submissions deadline: March 1st

Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2012, Apr 24-26, Boston, USA
10th Anniversary includes 12 parallel tracks and 16 pre-conference workshops

  • Register by March 9th and save
  • ISCB members receive an additional 10% registration discount

Brazilian Symposium on Bioinformatics 2012, Aug 15-17, Campo Grande, Brazil
Organized by the comp bio special interest group of the Brazilian Computer Society

  • Full Paper submission deadline: March 19th
  • ISCB members receive approx 14% registration discount - the greatest discounts are available until June 4th
  • Short Paper submission deadline: June 25th

ECCB 2012, Sep 9-12, Basel, Switzerland
Hosted by the SIB-Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and in conjunction with the SIB annual meeting

  • Workshop and Tutorial deadline: March 30th
  • Subscribe to the conference newsletter via the URL above for alerts on open calls, deadlines, and program updates.

InCoB 2012, Oct 3-5, Bangkok, Thailand
Hosted by the Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network

  • Paper submission deadline: April 1st
  • Poster and all other submission deadlines: May 15th


Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

The opportunity is soon closing to submit a Highlights paper to ISMB 2012. We invite the submission of full papers that have been published or accepted for publication in peer-review journals between January 1, 2011 and the submission deadline of March 2, 2012. Publications that are "in press" and already linked on the journal website are also welcome.

Last Call for Highlights Track Papers - deadline March 2, 2012

A group of editors will select the papers to be presented at the meeting, considering the impact of the work on the field, the likelihood that the work will make a good presentation, and the relevance to biomedical research, in general. Accepted presenters for the Highlights Track are required to make the presentation themselves, and must register and pay to attend the conference.

Click on the link above for full details and guidelines. From there you can also access the Highlights Track Submission Site to submit your published paper today.

This 20th Anniversary ISMB presents an exceptional line-up of keynote speakers that you will not want to miss:

  • Richard Durbin, ISCB Fellow Keynote, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
  • Lawrence Hunter, University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA, together with Richard Lathrop, University of California-Irvine, USA, presenting the 20th Anniversary Keynote
  • Andrej Sali, University of California-San Francisco, USA
  • Barbara Wold, California Institute of Technology, USA
  • Gunnar von Heijne, ISCB Sr. Scientist Award Winner, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Ziv Bar-Joseph, ISCB Overton Prize Winner, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Several additional opportunities exist for presentation at the conference, including Workshops, Posters, Technology demonstrations, Late Breaking Research abstracts, and the 8th annual Student Council Symposium. You can find the submission deadlines and links to each of the open calls on the conference home page.

Registration will open in mid-March. Please help spread the word for the strongest possible participation by sharing this mail with your colleagues and collaborators.

We look forward to welcoming you to Long Beach in July.


Burkhard Rost, Highlights Chair, ISMB 2012

on behalf of the Highlights Committee

ISCB Response to Research Works Act HR-3699

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

On February 14, 2012, the following letter was personalized to each of the 39 members of the US House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee and successfully sent via fax to their congressional offices. We share this to keep you informed on ISCB's response to HR-3699, and also to invite you to use any parts of this letter for stating your own opposition to this legislation that threatens to limit public access to federally funded scientific research.

Dear Representative :

On behalf of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) and its 1198 individual members from across the United States, we strongly oppose H.R. 3699, the "Research Works Act," introduced on December 16 and referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This bill would prohibit federal agencies from requiring, as a condition of their research grant funding, that the public be guaranteed online access to the products of research funded by public tax dollars.

H.R. 3699 will limit American taxpayers in accessing the results of the crucial scientific research they funded. By reversing the growing trend for cooperation and collaboration made possible by the open and rapid sharing of information and research results, this bill will inhibit our ability to exploit scientific discoveries, stifle critical advances in life-saving scientific research, and impede the pace of innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 3699 would reverse the highly successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy. The NIH Public Access Policy now gives millions of Americans public access to vital health care information from the NIH's PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, more than 90,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each year. H.R. 3699 would abrogate this collection. This loss will seriously impede the ability of researchers, physicians, healthcare professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 3699 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information, paid for with taxpayers' money and addressing vital areas such as energy, public safety, the environment, and hundreds more, would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation --- greatly to the detriment of the lives and well-being of the public, which funded the research in the first place.

In October 2010, ISCB published a public policy statement on "Open Access to Scientific and Technical Research Literature" (www.iscb.org/iscb-policy-statements/literature_open_access). This policy statement embraced Open Access even beyond the current NIH policy. The vision of individualized medicine offers many reasons for hope and a brighter future. Achieving such important goals poses immense challenges for the discipline of computational biology. No single research institution is ready for a challenge of this magnitude, so we have learned to join forces and to share scientific results and information. The objective of ISCB's statement on Open Access is to increase the availability of scientific results and developments in our field well beyond what is currently accomplished by the NIH. An excerpt from this statement:

The International Society for Computational Biology strongly advocates free, open, public, online: (i) access by person or machine to the publicly-funded archival scientific and technical research literature; and (ii) computational reuse, integration, and distillation of that literature into higher-order knowledge elements.

We strongly urge you to permit and encourage the NIH and other agencies to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R. 3699.


Scott Markel, Ph.D., Chair of ISCB Publication Committee

Richard Lathrop, Ph.D., Chair of ISCB Public Affairs & Policies Committee

Burkhard Rost, Ph.D., ISCB President

Call for ISCB Call for Leadership Nominations

Board Nominations Deadline: April 6, 2012

ISCB Officer and Student Council Leader Nominations Deadline: June 3, 2012

The International Society for Computational Biology is encouraging members to submit nominations for the Society's Board of Directors; the Officer positions of Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary; and the Student Council Leadership positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and SC Rep to the ISCB Board. Nominations are submitted at www.iscb.org/nominate (you must login to your membership record to access the nomination form). In all cases, self nominations will not be accepted.

If you know of excellent candidates that meet the eligibility requirements below, please be sure to submit your nomination(s) right away.

  • In order to be eligible for candidacy as a Director a person must be or become an ISCB member in good standing no later than the date he or she accepts the nomination. Acceptance is then completed by submitting a candidate statement by May 4, 2012.

  • All Director candidates must pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the bi-monthly Board teleconference beginning with a training period in October 2012 and the annual in-person Board of Directors meeting (held at the ISMB conference) at their own expense through completion of the three-year term that begins January 21, 2013.

  • In order to be eligible to be an Officer candidate a person must have served on the ISCB Board of Directors for at least one year prior to January 2013, and be an ISCB member in good standing, or renew a lapsed membership no later than June 24, 2012.

  • All Officer candidates must pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the weekly Executive Committee teleconferences beginning with a training period by mid-October, 2012, the bi-monthly Board teleconferences beginning with a training period in October 2012, and the annual in-person Board of Directors meeting (held at the ISMB conference) at their own expense through completion of the two-year Officer term that begins January 21, 2013.

  • The elected Officers will also serve concurrently on the Board of Directors for a term that ends January 21, 2016.

Nominations for Board of Directors will be accepted through April 6, 2012. Election of Board members will take place during the annual ISCB Board of Directors meeting in July 2012.

Nominations for Officers and Student Council Leaders will be accepted through June 3, 2012. Election of the Officers and Student Council Leaders will take place via online voting by the membership in July, 2012, including availability to a dedicated voting booth at the ISMB conference.

Each nomination requires the name, affiliation, and email address of the nominee, along with an assurance that the nominee meets the qualifications and is willing to stand for election for the position in question. The nomination must also include a few sentences of justification that makes the strongest case possible for the nominee.

Full information regarding the 2012 nominations/elections timeline, call for nominations, and Director and Officer responsibilities can be found at www.iscb.org/iscb-leadership-a-staff-/officers-and-board-directors/nomination-election-procedures.

We are looking forward to an active participation by the ISCB membership in the nominations and election process, and we thank you in advance for your qualified nominations.


Dietlind Gerloff, Scott Markel, and Anna Tramontano
Co-Chairs, ISCB Nominations Committee


Renowned scientific computing expert to speak at international life sciences conference on Semantic Web and Big Data in Cambridge, MA

LA JOLLA, CA – Pioneering scientist and best selling author Stephen Wolfram will deliver a keynote talk at next week’s Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Sciences (CSHALS) in Cambridge, MA.

Wolfram is an internationally recognized authority on complex systems and knowledge base computing. His work in the early and mid-1980s focused on understanding complex systems and resulted in discovering important connections between computation and nature. He is the chief designer of the Mathematica technical computing software on workflow applications, and author of the bestseller "A New Kind of Science," first released in 2002 and now freely available online. As president and CEO of Wolfram Research, he launched the Wolfram|Alpha Central Knowledge Engine in 2009 that aims to use computational tools to make the world’s knowledge base accessible to all. His research and software developments continually tackle the specific challenges being addressed by researchers attending the CSHALS meeting: The Semantic Web that promotes common formats for all data on the Web; and Big Data that seeks to manage datasets that have grown too large to work with using common tools and applications.

Wolfram’s keynote is part of a roster of keynote presentations throughout the CSHALS conference from noted scientists, including: knowledge representation and reasoning specialist Rinke Hoekstra of the University of Amsterdam, informatics program director Isaac (Zak) Kohane of Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital, biologist and bioinformatics specialist Barend Mons of the University of Rotterdam and the Leiden University Medical Centre in The Netherlands, and research specialist Chris Welty of IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. The conference also features 18 presentations from other invited speakers and those selected through peer reviewed abstract submissions.

Now in its fifth year, CSHALS, an annual conference of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), is the premier annual event focused on the use of semantic technologies in the pharmaceutical industry, including hospitals/healthcare institutions and academic research labs. This year’s gathering will be held February 23-24 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and includes a pre-conference tutorial and scientific posterreception on February 22nd. For more information visit the conference website at www.iscb.org/cshals2012.

About ISCB
The International Society for Computational Biology is a nonprofit scholarly society dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems through computation. Based in La Jolla, California, at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, the ISCB has a global membership of 3,000 researchers from 70 countries. For more information, visit www.iscb.org.

Press Contact
BJ Morrison McKay
ISCB Executive Officer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

January 10, 2012

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

As many of you may be aware, the U.S. House of Representatives has recently been presented with a bill called the Research Works Act (HR 3699) that threatens the current U.S. requirements of public access to federally funded research results. ISCB strongly opposes this bill. Burkhard Rost, ISCB President, and Richard Lathrop, ISCB Public Affairs & Policies Committee Chair, are drafting a letter to the bill's authors that expresses our opposition and emphasizes the importance of the ISCB Public Policy Statement on Open Access to Scientific and Technical Research Literature that was released in 2010.

If you are a member of ISCB and have not yet signed on to our statement, you are invited to do so at your earliest opportunity via the link to current signatories on the policy page noted above.

Thank you,
BJ Morrison McKay, ISCB Executive Officer on behalf of Burkhard Rost, Richard Lathrop, and the ISCB Board of Directors

Dear ISCB Members and Colleagues,

The Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Sciences is less than two weeks away, happening February 23nd and 24th at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, MA, USA! Don't miss this opportunity to attend the premier annual event focused on the use of semantic technologies in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry - now also covering "Big Data."


ISCB Member Discounts Apply

NEWS FLASH: If you feel the need to increase your proficiency in the conference topics before investing additional time and money in the full conference registration, you now have the opportunity to register for only the CSHALS Tutorial being presented by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Tetherless World Constellation on February 22nd.

If you decide after attending the Tutorial to also register for the main conference, 50% of your tutorial fee will be applied toward your on-site conference registration fee. This special Tutorial-only registration offer must be completed by Monday, February 20th (5:00 pm Eastern).

CSHALS 2012 will feature keynote lectures, invited talks, and selected oral presentations and posters on the role of the semantic web of linked data to orchestrate cloud based resources, from drug development and Biomedical research to personalized health care. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of semantics-based approaches and challenges currently faced throughout our industry.

If you have not attended a previous CSHALS and want a sneak peak at how the content might apply to your research, we invite you to view the free Webinar presentation that was given last September to reprise and update Larry Hunter's CSHALS 2011 Keynote Presentation.

Please be sure to forward this mail to all of your colleagues and collaborators who might benefit from attending CSHALS. We thank you for helping us spread the word, and look forward to your participation!

Your CSHALS 2012 Organizing Committee:

Conference Chairs

  • Mike Bevil, Merck & Co.
  • Joanne Luciano, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tetherless World Constellation

Committee Members

  • Jonas S. Almeida, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Lee Feigenbaum, Cambridge Semantics
  • Ted Slater, Broad Reach Strategic Advising LLC, Past Conference Chair