Leading Professional Society for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
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Distinguished Keynotes

Fiona S. L. Brinkman

Simon Fraser University
Canada
https://brinkmanlab.ca/

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Sensitive Sustainable Science

How do we sustainably maintain and further develop bioinformatics and computational biology (BCB) software, databases and tools, in the face of short <5 year periods of funding support? How do we promote open data and open science in a way that best effects positive change and avoids causing unwitting harm on communities? Using some historical data and also my recent research as examples, I’ll review how open science is evolving, building on FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) with also, for example, CARE (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, Ethics) as Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. I’ll review this and other principles in the context of both microbial data, as well as human cohort data, presenting some approaches to research that can support more sustainable, inclusive science that can potentially better lead to positive change. While there is no one size fits all solution, there are some common themes and considerations that we as a BCB community should discuss - and ideally incorporate into BCB training programs.

Biography

Fiona Brinkman is a Distinguished Professor in Bioinformatics and Genomics at Simon Fraser University, interested in developing more preventative, sustainable, and holistic approaches for infectious disease control and supporting health. She is most known for R&D of software and databases aiding analysis of microbial and human omics data, including PSORT, IslandViewer, Pseudomonas.com, and InnateDB.com. She leads data integration for the CHILD Cohort Study – the largest multidisciplinary, longitudinal, population-based birth cohort study in Canada, including diverse omics data. She has co-led development of the IRIDA.ca platform, which is now the primary platform for Canada’s Public Health Agency to analyze infectious disease outbreaks using combined epidemiological/lab/genomics data. She contributed to the pandemic response, co-leading Data Analytics for the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network and more recently CoVaRR-Net. She has a strong interest in bioinformatics education and mentoring young scientists. She is on several committees/Boards, including the ELIXIR and European Nucleotide Archive Scientific Advisory Boards. Her awards include a TR100 award from MIT, Thompson Reuters “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds”, and most recently she received a University of Waterloo Distinguished Alumni Award and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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Guillaume Bourque

McGill University
Canada
https://computationalgenomics.ca/BourqueLab/

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Biography

Dr. Bourque is a Professor in the Department of Human Genetics, a Canada Research Chair in Computational Genomics and Medicine and the Director of Bioinformatics at the McGill Genome Center. He leads the Canadian Center for Computational Genomics (C3G) and the Epigenomics Mapping Center at McGill. He is on the External Consultant Panel of two functional genomics consortia funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute in the US (ENCODE and IGVF). Dr. Bourque is also on the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC) and on the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). Dr. Bourque’s research interests are in comparative and functional genomics with a special emphasis on applications of next-generation sequencing technologies and transposable elements.

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ISCB Innovator Award Winner
Su-In Lee

University of Washington
USA
https://suinlee.cs.washington.edu/su-in-lee

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Biography

Prof. Su-In Lee, the Paul G. Allen Professor of Computer Science at UW, earned her PhD from Stanford University in 2009 under the guidance of Prof. Daphne Koller. She joined UW in 2010 after serving as a visiting Assistant Professor in the Computational Biology Department at Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science. A recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award and an American Cancer Society (ACS) Research Scholar, Prof. Lee is renowned for her work in AI and computational biology. Notably, she is recognized as a trailblazer in explainable AI (XAI), significantly enhancing ML model interpretability.

Prof. Lee's recent contributions revolve around essential XAI principles and techniques, including her groundbreaking SHAP framework. Her innovative biomedical research spans basic biology to clinical medicine, enabled by XAI advancements. Conceptually advancing the integration of AI with biomedicine, her work addresses forward-looking scientific questions, enabling novel discoveries from high-throughput molecular data and electronic health records and advancing healthcare. This pioneering line of work has led to highly cited publications across foundational AI, computational molecular biology, and clinical medicine.

She holds several significant roles, including Director of the UW Computational Molecular Biology Program and AI Core Director for the NIH Nathan Shock Center for Basic Biology of Aging. Additionally, she serves as Associate Editor for Science Advances and as a Standing Member for NIH's Biodata Management and Analysis (BDMA) Study Section.

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ISCB Overton Award Winner
Martin Steinegger

Seoul National university
South Korea
https://steineggerlab.com/en/

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Biography

Dr. Steinegger is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Seoul National University, with a joint appointment to the Interdisciplinary Program in Bioinformatics. He conducted his doctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and was awarded a Ph.D. in computer science with summa cum laude honors from the Technical University of Munich in 2018, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Steinegger has published more than 40 papers covering a wide range of topics in bioinformatics, from detecting genomic assembly contamination to organizing the protein structure space.

He started his research group in 2020, focusing on the development of methods to analyze massive genomics and proteomic datasets. The group's contributions to bioinformatics include widely used tools for predicting structures (ColabFold/AlphaFold2), clustering (Linclust), assembling (Plass), and searching sequences (MMseqs2) and protein structures (Foldseek). His group's software and web services have been installed and used millions of times. Dr. Steinegger is an advocate for internationality at his home institution, open science and open source.

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ISCB Accomplishments by a Senior Scientist Award Winner
Tandy Warnow

University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne
USA
https://cs.illinois.edu/about/people/faculty/warnow

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Biography

Dr. Warnow received her PhD in Mathematics at UC Berkeley (1991) under the direction of Gene Lawler, and did postdoctoral training with Simon Tavare and Michael Waterman at the University of Southern California (1991-1992). After positions at Sandia National Laboratories (1992-1993), University of Pennsylvania (1993-1998), and the University of Texas (1998-2014), she joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Founder Professor of Engineering. She is now Associate Head for Computer Science, and has affiliate faculty appointments in Bioengineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, and several biology departments.

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