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

ISCB News and Announcements

NIH Public Access Policy Member Poll

Dear ISCB members and colleagues,

In 2008 the U.S. Congress required the National Institutes of Health to implement a Public Access Policy that requires investigators funded by the NIH to submit, or have submitted for them, an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to the National Library of Medicine's digital archive, PubMed Central, to be posted publicly within 12 months after the official date of publication. (See http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-3442.htm for the full notice and analysis of this NIH policy.)

Similarly, in England the Wellcome Trust implemented a like-minded policy for investigators funded with its resources, and in Germany the Max Planck Society committed to paying for all open access publications from any of its institutes.

A new bill, HR 801, was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, to prohibit any U.S. federal agency from mandating a public access policy as a condition of funding.

Supporters of open access are taking a strong position against HR 801, while organizations that stand to benefit from limiting or eliminating the current NIH policy are standing in favor of the bill.

Members of the senior leadership of ISCB support the current NIH Public Access Policy, and are therefore opposed to HR 801. However, before making any public statements on this issue in the name of ISCB, we are seeking your input. Even if you are not a U.S. citizen or live and work outside of the U.S., your input is important in helping guide ISCB's next steps on this topic.

Please click here to participate in the brief poll to help determine if ISCB shall make a public statement on this issue.

March 10, 2009
Press Release

Webb Miller and Trey Ideker to Receive Top International Bioinformatics Awards for 2009 from the International Society for Computational Biology

The International Society for Computational Biology has named Webb Miller of Pennsylvania State University, USA as winner of its Accomplishment by a Senior Scientist Award for 2009, and the 2009 Overton Prize, for scientists in early- to mid-career, will go to Trey Ideker of the University of California, San Diego, USA.

Webb Miller began his career at Penn State in the late 1960’s as a computer scientist. By the time he entered the emerging field of bioinformatics in 1987 he was already a full professor there. Initially, his research revolved around developing algorithms for aligning pairs of DNA or protein sequences; he worked on the algorithms that were used in the BLAST program for searching databases for similar sequences, which is still one of the most widely used bioinformatics tools worldwide. His interests then changed to methods for aligning long DNA sequences and extracting functional information from them. Miller has made important contributions to the analysis of many vertebrate genomes including those of the mouse, chicken and rhesus macaque. He collaborated with David Haussler – his immediate predecessor as ISCB Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award winner – in the development of sequence-alignment software for the UCSC Genome Browser, which now provides access to about fifty complete genome sequences. Haussler praised Miller on being named for the 2009 award by saying, “Webb has played an essential role in nearly every vertebrate genome sequence project: he developed the first program capable of accurate comparative alignment for entire vertebrate-sized genomes.” Miller’s recent research interests include the bioinformatics of species extinction, and in November 2008 he published a paper in Nature that described a draft sequence for the woolly mammoth genome. In 2004 he was appointed to a chair in biology alongside the chair appointment he already held in computer science.

Established in 2003, ISCB’s Accomplishment by a Senior Scientist Award recognizes members of the computational biology community who have made major contributions to the field through research, education, service, or a combination of the three. Miller will be joining a prestigious group of previous winners, which includes David Sankoff (University of Ottawa, Canada), David Lipman (US National Center for Biotechnology Information, USA), Janet Thornton (European Bioinformatics Institute, UK), Mike Waterman (University of Southern California, USA), Temple Smith (Boston University, USA) and David Haussler (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA).

Trey Ideker also started his career as an engineer and computer scientist. A burgeoning interest in molecular biology led him to join a graduate program in molecular biology run by Leroy Hood, founder of the Institute of Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington. There, he began to model and analyse networks of molecular interactions using genome-scale measurements, an emerging field in which he became a pioneer. He was still a Ph.D. student when, in 2001, he published a classic paper demonstrating how biological networks are mapped and tested using a systems biology approach that has attracted well over 800 citations to date. He then took a fellowship at the prestigious Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts before joining the faculty at UCSD in 2003, where he is now an associate professor. In recent years, Ideker has developed a number of influential bioinformatics methods and resources including Cytoscape, a widely used open source program for visualising molecular networks. In 2003, his group was the first to demonstrate that protein networks can be aligned and compared across species, just like genome sequences. Since then, he has extended network comparison to incorporate many different interaction types, and used network-based methods to map the DNA damage response, compare host and pathogen networks, and classify diseases. He has already received many honours and was recognised as one of the top 10 innovators of 2006 by MIT’s Technology Review. Aviv Regev, the 2008 ISCB Overton Prize winner, commends the selection of Ideker for the 2009 award. "Trey's work has epitomized the power of integrating innovative computational methods with cutting-edge genomics. His pioneering work has set a model for doing systems biology that has been followed by numerous groups and has impacts for understanding the evolution of biological systems and for treating disease".

The Overton Prize was established in 2001 in memory of G. Christian Overton, a major contributor to the field of bioinformatics and member of the ISCB Board of Directors who died suddenly the previous year. The prize is awarded for outstanding accomplishment to a scientist in the early- to mid-career who has already made a significant contribution to the field of computational biology. Previous recipients are Christopher Burge (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA), David Baker (University of Washington, USA), W. James Kent (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA), Uri Alon (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), Ewan Birney (European Bioinformatics Institute, UK), Mathieu Blanchette (McGill University, Canada), Eran Segal (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), Aviv Regev (The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, USA).

ISCB Award recipients are selected from among nominations received from the computational biology community. The awards committee thoroughly reviews the merits of all nominees and unanimously decides on a recommendation of each award winner to be approved by the ISCB president. Both awards will be presented at the Society’s prestigious Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB), being held jointly with the European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) in Stockholm, Sweden, June 29–July 2.


For more information, please contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Executive Officer, ISCB
+1 858 822 0852

Note to Editors

The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) serves over 2500 members from nearly 70 countries around the world by addressing scientific policies, providing access to high quality publications, organizing regional and international conferences, and serving as a portal to information about training, education, employment and news from related fields.


Participate in ISCB Blogs on Hot Topics for Bioinformaticians

Share your thoughts!

ISCB is committed to advancing our science to the benefit of our members and the broader bioinformatics community, who in turn are committed to the improvement of human health. As such, we are seeking community input on hot topics that impact the way we work, learn and network. Become an ISCB blogger on the following topics, and be sure to return often (or set up an RSS feed) to see if your fellow bloggers agree, disagree or have shed some light on a different angle that might be of benefit to you as you tackle these issues yourself.

ISCB Members Receive Special Discount to AMIA Summit on Translational Bioinformatics

For the 2009 Summit on Translational Bioinformatics.
ISCB members use Coupon code: ISCB2009 for member rates to the Summit. We encourage you to join or renew your membership today to take advantage of $100.00 in savings for the member rates. The Summit will feature the presentation of research showcasing the synergy between the medical informatics and bioinformatics communities. We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues who might be interested research-related issues and best practices in translational science and computational biology. 

An excerpt of the program is included below, with a searchable program containing detailed information on sessions, presenters, tutorials, and posters at: http://summit2009.amia.org. Conducted in close partnership between AMIA and ISCB, the 2009 Summit will be an indispensible gathering for translational bioinformatics research and development worldwide. With the completion of human and model organism genomes, and the increasing utilization of biomedical computational methods, translational bioinformatics is evolving rapidly into a complex multidisciplinary field encompassing nearly all areas of biological, biomedical and clinical research.

Register Today and Save! (Click this link, select the registration tab on the blue header bar and proceed with on-line registration or download the printable registration form). There are 3 easy ways to register: Mail: AMIA, 4915 St. Elmo Avenue, Suite 401, Bethesda, MD 20814 | Fax: 301-657-1291 | Web: http://summit2009.amia.org.

Hotel Rooms might still be available
at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. Follow this link to reserve your hotel room!

Notable News Bioinformatics
Register for the Stanford 10x10 Course and Receive a Complimentary Tutorial at the Summit! (Details noted below)
Stanford University is holding the 3rd offering of its AMIA 10x10 course, titled “Methods for Bioinformatics:  Representations and Algorithms for Computational Molecular Biology,” led by course director Russ Altman. The course begins on March 31st, so register now and hold your space in this sought after course! If you sign-up for the course now you will receive one complimentary tutorial of your choice at the 2009 Summit. You must register and pay for the Stanford course in order to receive your free tutorial. If you decide to withdraw or drop out of the course at a later time, your fee for the course will be returned to you minus the tutorial fee and a $50 processing fee. Click here to register. If you'd like to update or change your e-mail address, go to "AMIA Personal Member Profile" on the left-hand column of the AMIA Members Only site at http://www.amia.org/mbrcenter/mbronly/ or click here.


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes New NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research

The February 20, 2009 issue of the FASEB Washington Update newsletter includes information on the following of note for ISCB members interested in applying for new NIH grant funding availability:

NIH is designating at least $200 million of the funds it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “stimulus bill”) in FYs 2009 - 2010 for a new initiative called the NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research. The new program is expected to fund 200 or more grants, contingent upon the submission of a sufficient number of scientifically meritorious applications. This program will support research on 15 high priority topics within broad challenge areas that address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that will benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds. Challenge Areas, defined by the NIH, focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. The research in these areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health. The NIH Challenge Grant information is now live on the NIH Web site at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/challenge_award/. Please note that the RFA includes the following important deadlines:

  • Release/Posted Date: March 4, 2009
  • Opening Date: March 27, 2009 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)

  • Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not applicable

  • NOTE: On-time submission requires that applications be successfully submitted to Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization).

  • Application Due Date(s): April 27, 2009
  • Peer Review Date(s): June/July 2009

  • Council Review Date(s): August 2009

  • Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): September 30, 2009

  • Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): Not Applicable

  • Expiration Date: April 28, 2009


View Talks from the ISMB Conference in Toronto

The ISMB 2008 conference in Toronto was touted as a scientific success, with lots of pre-conference excitement as well as positive press and accolades following the event. Now all site visitors can view the keynote talk entitled "Microbial Communities in Health and Disease," presented by Claire Fraser-Ligget of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. This talk provides a taste of the quality of presentations given at the conference that are now available for remote viewing online.

The conference organizers and Society leadership are proud to make dozens of the talks from the conference available to current members when logged in to their membership accounts. To view the full selection of talks login here, or if you are already logged in, select the 'My ISCB' tab at the top of this page and within the ISCB User Menu select 'ISMB 2008 Multimedia'.

Access to the full listing of presentations now available online is an exclusive ISCB membership benefit. If you are not a current member we invite you to join to begin taking advantage of this as well as the many other benefits ISCB members enjoy. Please select the 'Membership' tab at the top of this page to join as a new member or renew an expired membership.

ISCB Call for Leadership Nominations

Board Nominations Deadline: April 17, 2009                           President-Elect Nominations Deadline: July 16, 2009


The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) is encouraging members and affiliates to submit nominations for the Society’s Board of Directors and President-elect. Nominations are submitted at www.iscb.org/nominate (you must login to your membership record to access the nomination form - if you are a member of an affiliated regional group and do not have an ISCB membership, please encourage a leader of your regional group to submit a nomination from your region). 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 May 15, 2009.
  • All Director candidates must pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the bi-monthly Board teleconference beginning with a training period in October 2009 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, 2010.
  • In order to be eligible to be a President-elect candidate a person must have served on the ISCB Board of Directors for at least one year prior to January 2010, and be an ISCB member in good standing, or renew an ISCB lapsed membership no later than July 30, 2009.
  • All President-elect candidates must pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the weekly Executive Committee teleconferences beginning with a training period in mid-October, 2009, the bi-monthly Board teleconferences beginning with a training period in December 2009, and the annual in-person Board of Directors meeting (held at the ISMB conference) at their own expense through completion of the one year President-elect term that begins January 21, 2010 and the two year President term that begins January 21, 2011.
  • The elected President-elect will also serve concurrently on the Board of Directors for a term that ends January 21, 2014.

Nominations for Board of Directors will be accepted through April 17, 2009. Election of Board members will take place during the annual ISCB Board of Directors meeting in June 2009.

Nominations for President-elect will be accepted through July 16, 2009. Election of the President-elect will take place via online voting by the membership in September, 2009.

Each nomination requires the name, affiliation, and e-mail 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 2009 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 I thank you in advance for your qualified nominations.


Dietlind Gerloff
Chair, ISCB Nominations Committee


2009 Journal Subscriptions Now Available
Date: Nov 25, 2008

2009 discounted Journal Subscriptions are now available to ISCB members. To order just log into your ISCB membership page and select "subscribe to journals" from the menu on the left side of the page. Or purchase the journals of your choice when you renew your membership. The journal subscriptions run for the calendar year.

Contact Person: Suzi Smith (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

The registration for our Rocky Mountain Bioinformaticss Conference is open.

The conference will be held between December 4-7th, 2008 in Aspen/Snowmass.

Go the registration here. 

 The ISMB 2008 Proceedings of the Toronto conference are available and can be purchased on our publication section.

ISMB Proceedings