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ISCB News and Announcements

NIH Seeks High Risk, High Impact Proposals through NIH Director’s Pioneer, New Innovator, and Transformative R01 Initiatives

August 31, 2009 - NIH welcomes proposals for 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards and New Innovator Awards. Both programs are part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research http://nihroadmap.nih.gov and support exceptionally creative scientists who take highly innovative, potentially high-impact approaches to major challenges in biomedical or behavioral research.

Pioneer Awards provide up to $2.5 million in direct costs over 5 years and are open to scientists at any career stage. New Innovator Awards provide up to $1.5 million in direct costs over the same period and are for early stage investigators (ESI) who have not received an NIH regular research (R01) or similar NIH grant.

NIH expects to make at least 7 Pioneer Awards and at least 33 New Innovator Awards in September 2010.

To continue its strong record of diversity in these programs, NIH especially encourages women and members of groups that are underrepresented in NIH research to apply.

The deadline for submitting Pioneer Award applications is October 20, 2009. See the instructions in the RFA, (RFA-RM-09-010) and http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer for more information. Send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The deadline for submitting New Innovator Award applications is October 27, 2009. See the instructions in the RFA (RFA-RM-09-011) and http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/newinnovator for more information. Send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Transformative R01 Program

The Transformative R01 (T-R01) supports exceptionally innovative, high risk, original and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms.  Please check http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/T-R01 for more information about the program and upcoming funding opportunities.

The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, launched in 2004, is a series of initiatives designed to address fundamental knowledge gaps, develop transformative tools and technologies, and/or foster innovative approaches to complex problems. Funded through the NIH Common Fund, these programs cut across the missions of individual NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and are intended to accelerate the translation of research to improvements in public health. Additional information about the NIH Roadmap and Common Fund can be found at www.nihroadmap.nih.gov  http://www.nihroadmap.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) –“The Nation's Medical Research Agency” – includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
ISMB/ECCB 2009 Live Blog

During the ISMB/ECCB 2009 conference in Stockholm the ISCB, for the first time, facilitated a blogging forum and actively encouraged bloggers to comment on the conference and the scientific program. The blogs were visible on our main portal site, in the detailed program pages and on the hosting server at FriendFeed. The blogging community turned out to be very active and a large number of talks collected numerous comments with a peek of about 230 comments for Prof. Thomas Lengauer's keynote talk.

You can still access the blogs either on the conference website here or on the FriendFeed server here.

The ISCB is very happy that our experiment was taken up so positively and we would like to thank all the bloggers for their input, which was highly  appreciated and contributed significantly to the overall conference experience for bloggers and non-bloggers alike. We certainly plan to repeat this for ISMB 2010 in Boston and have collected some ideas on how to improve and extend the service for ISMB and other ISCB conferences.

ISMB/ECCB 2009 Conference Blogging

Calling all Bloggers!

This year ISCB is paving the way to create a link between the ISMB/ECCB scientific program, ISCB's web portal and our community's bloggers. To accomplish this we have collaborated with last year's core blogger team from ISMB in Toronto (see http://www.ploscompbiol.org/) and are planning the following:
A designated blog tech team will trigger the creation of a new blog on the FriendFeed (http://friendfeed.com/ismbeccb2009) platform shortly before the start of each talk in the conference schedule. The feed link will be posted into our online program schedule for all subscribers to easily find.

Anyone can then join that feed to participate in real-time blogging of the talk with colleagues that might be seated on the opposite side of the aisle, or the opposite side of the globe! You do not need to be attending ISMB/ECCB in Stockholm to blog along with the rest of them.

By embracing blogging as a valuable conference activity we hope to help speed the dissemination of the science presented in Stockholm.

If you are not already subscribed to FriendFeed and think you might want to participate in this activity, sign up in advance and get ready to jump right into the discussions without delay!

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

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