Call for Special Sessions Proposals - ISMB 2014

Special Session Chair: Donna Slonim, Tufts University, United States

** Special Sessions Submissions - Closed: November 22, 2013

ISMB 2014
 will feature a Special Sessions track that will run throughout the conference in parallel to other tracks (except the keynote presentations). In its structure, each Special Session provides more in-depth look at the subject matter presented. Proposals for special sessions should be submitted via the online submission system at here by November 22, 2013.

Special Sessions
have the purpose of introducing the ISMB community to relevant 'hot' topics that were not covered in previous meetings. A wide range of topics are possible, as long as they importantly influence computational biology and bioinformatics. They might, for example, cover emerging themes that ISMB are not currently approaching with the desired proficiency. Some attractive topics include "analysis on a single molecule level"; "a computational view of chromatin and nuclei"; "Optogenetics – live imaging of the brain"; "the Microbiome and Virome". We encourage you to submit a proposal on an area that you deem as important to the computational biology community and may impact the future of the field.

This call is an invitation for scientists and professionals to submit proposals for special sessions for ISMB 2014, to take place in Boston, United States, July 13 - 15.


Organizer Benefits:

1) Special Session organizers will receive two (2) complimentary one-year ISCB memberships to be used for themselves or to award to speakers/participants as determined by them for memberships with a start date no later than the end of 2014 calendar year.

2) Special Session organizers are entitled to discounted registration for two (2) speakers' participation on the day of the session at 50% off the published member early-registration rate. (Organizers must identify the Special Session speakers designated to receive the discounted one-day registrations by May 15, 2014 by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to receive special registration instructions). All other participants of the Special Session, including organizers and other invited or accepted speakers, are responsible for their own registration costs at the full registration fees. If needed, organizers are encouraged to seek sponsorships and/or use grant funds available to them to cover their own and their speakers' travel and registration costs. 


September 23, 2013 Call for Special Sessions Opens
November 22, 2013
Special Session Proposal Submission Deadline
December 20, 2013  Special Session Acceptance Notification
January 24, 2014 Special Session Program Program Deadline
January 31, 2014 Final Acceptance of Proposals

May 9, 2014 Special Session Complete Program on web



Technical instructions

Special sessions
run the same schedule as all other parallel tracks. They MUST be designed as half-day sessions (2 hours) and synchronized with other tracks. The regular presentation unit is 30 minutes consisting of  20 minute talks + 5 minute discussion + 5 minutes for movement between parallel tracks. Sessions may include any form of presentation such as talks or panel discussions.

Preference will be given to emerging fields and to related fields in which the ISMB community needs to acquire higher proficiency. Special sessions are expected to provide a broad perspective on an emerging research field. Sessions will be selected from the submissions to this open call. Potential fields of interest include metabolomics, epigenetics and imaging. Additional topics of particular interest to the ISMB community are welcome.

Proposals for special sessions should be submitted via the online submission system here prior to November 22, 2013.

How to submit

Submissions must include a one-page description of the field, its relevance to the ISMB community, and the reasons for planning a session on this topic at ISMB 2014. Submitters may want to briefly describe their qualification to organize the Special Session. These explanations could be followed by a list of topics for possible presentations with one-paragraph descriptions. Finally, a draft of the time schedule for the session should be presented. A finalized list of speaker names is not necessary but may add weight to the proposal. If you list invited speakers as "accepted", please make sure that they agree to speak given to the financial constraints describe below.


Financial constraints:

Special Sessions
are an integral part of the ISMB meeting. Special Sessions chairs and speakers MUST pay their expenses including registration to the meeting. Therefore, the organizers highly encourage session organizers to seek independent funding, and to include any commitment that they may have secured in the proposal. ISMB will help in the administrative aspects of assigning the rooms, announcements and adding the detailed schedule to the conference program. Note that the ISMB cannot financially support the speakers or the Special Session organizers.

Submission evaluation

All submissions will be evaluated by a committee, which will consider the following criteria:

  • Relevance, interest, and value of the topic to conference attendees.
  • Complementarity to the ISMB program provided by the other tracks.
  • Completeness, clarity, and quality of the session proposal.
  • Qualification of the submitter(s) to organize the workshop.
  • Likely success of the proposed session.
  • Overlap with other proposal or pre-selected activity.

Submitters of successful session proposals will be notified of their provisional acceptance by December 20, 2013.

A maximum of six sessions will be presented at ISMB 2014. Titles of presentation and speakers in each Special Session will be printed in the Conference program. Organizers of special sessions are encouraged to prepare abstracts or additional written material that will be presented online at the beginning of the meeting.

A complete version of the session schedule, including, names and affiliations of speakers, presentation titles and short abstract must be received by January 24, 2014, and the final acceptance decisions will be made by January 31, 2014.

A final program with all times and speakers must be sent to the organizers for publication on the web and in the conference program booklet by May 9, 2014.

For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.