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Awards - ISMB/ECCB 2023

Outstanding Contributions to the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) Award
Ian Lawson Van Toch Memorial Award for Outstanding Student Paper

RCSB PDB Poster Prize
Royal Society of Chemistry Best Poster Prize

Outstanding Contributions to the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) Award

The Outstanding Contributions to the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) Award was initiated in 2015 to recognize members who have made beneficial and lasting contributions to the Society through their leadership, service, and educational work, or a combination of these three areas.

Shoba Ranganathan is the 2023 recipient of the ISCB Outstanding Contributions Award to be presented at ISMB 2022.

Shoba Ranganathan is Professor of Bioinformatics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Ranganathan’s research interests including immunoinformatics, transcriptomics, and biodiversity informatics. She is a long-standing ISCB member and has served the greater bioinformatics community for over 20 years. Ranganathan was born and raised in India and received her PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Her bioinformatics career has spanned the globe through academic and industry positions in India, France, the United States, Singapore, and Australia, which has given her a unique and valuable insight into bioinformatics research and education activities in diverse settings.

Shoba first became a member of ISCB in 1999 when she had a paper accepted at the Pacific Symposium of Biocomputing (PSB). It was here she met some of the pioneers of computational biology, including Russ Altman, Larry Hunter, Subramanian Subbiah, and Keith Dunker, among others. This led to her getting involved with the Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet), which was the first regional affiliate of ISCB. Shoba has held numerous leadership roles in APBioNet, including Vice-President (2000-4), President (2005-16), Advisory Board (since 2020), and Board of Directors (honorary) (2016-Present). She has also built ISCB’s connections with other international scientific networks, including serving as a founding co-chair of CompMS (joint initiative of ISCB community of special interest (COSI), Human Proteome Organization, and the Metabolomics Society). Shoba is a founding president (2003-2005) of the Association for Medical and Bio Informatics Singapore (AMBIS), ISCB regional affiliate, and a founding member of GOBLET (Global Organization for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training) (2012-Present), and hosted their annual meeting at the International Conference of Bioinformatics (InCoB) 2019. She has also been instrumental in facilitating the peer review of InCoB papers in BMC Bioinformatics (2006-present), followed by the addition of BMC Genomics, BMC Medical Genomics, BMC Systems Biology and BMC Cell and Molecular Biology.

Ranganathan has directly served ISCB in various roles, including as a member of the ISCB Board of Directors (2002-2006), on the Education Committee as Co-Chair (2003-4), Chair (2004-5), and current member, and as a Co-Chair of Affiliates Committee (2004-6). She campaigned for parallel sessions at ISMB, which was adopted from 2004, switching from the single session program until 2003. Her service has been pivotal to realizing ISCB’s role in promoting bioinformatics education. She recalled, “I moved to Singapore in August 2000, where I put forward a proposal for a Workshop on Education in Bioinformatics (WEB) for ISMB2001, organized by Søren Brunak. I kissed my bank account away signing a personal guarantee for the entire cost of this Special Interest Group meeting. It is gratifying to note that WEB is still on the agenda (as a COSI now), and fortunately, all SIG meetings are underwritten by the ISCB nowadays.”

Shoba’s service has been driven by a desire to better connect the global bioinformatics community. She still sees a “digital divide” among the bioinformatics communities in the Asia-Pacific, especially in under-resourced areas. Ranganathan has worked to connect these groups through activities with APBioNet, Bioinformatics Australia/ABACBS, ICSB, and other societies, which has been critical to improving bioinformatics education and supporting newly formed bioinformatics societies. Her work in this area has been pivotal in building bioinformatics education and infrastructure in Australia. Her work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2018 ABACBS Honorary Senior Fellowship, and as first UNESCO Chair of Biodiversity Informatics in 2006.

Shoba remains deeply involved with the bioinformatics community, especially as she anticipates the global reach of bioinformatics to expand to applications including environmental and health research, synthetic biology and gene modifications, and artificial intelligence for biological knowledge integration and analysis. She is deeply honored and grateful for her recognition with the 2023 Outstanding Contributions to ISCB Award and encourages junior scientists and trainees to seek out varied service opportunities to expand their knowledge and give back to their scientific community.

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Ian Lawson Van Toch Memorial Award for Outstanding Student Paper

The Outstanding Student Paper Award is given to the student who presents the most thought-provoking or original paper at the Conference, as judged by our panel of experts.

This award is given in memory of Ian Lawson Van Toch, a 23 year old Medical Biophysics graduate student at the University of Toronto who passed away in August 2007. Ian was fortunate to have already discovered his passion for computational biology and how it can - and will - lead to quantum breakthroughs in cancer research. This passion was sparked when Dr Igor Jurisica hired Ian to work in his lab at the Ontario Cancer Institute as a researcher during the summer of 2006. That introduction blossomed into a mentoring relationship that is so vital to helping young students launch their careers.

Our thanks go to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation who has sponsored this award since 2008.

Past recipients of this special award include:

  • ISMB/ECCB 2023 - Cassandra Burdziak, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, United States
  • ISMB 2022 - Quentin Garrido, Université Gustave Eiffel, ESIEE Paris, LIGM, France
  • ISMB/ECCB 2021 - Jamshed Khan, University of Maryland
  • ISMB 2020 - Yannik Schälte, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany
  • ISMB/ECCB 2019 - Torsten Gross, IRI Life Sciences, Humboldt University, Germany and
    Dinithi Sumanaweera, Monash University, Australia
  • ISMB 2018: Rani Powers, University of Colorado, United States
  • ISMB/ECCB 2017: Kymberleigh Pagel, Indiana University, United States
  • ISMB 2016: Yaron Orenstein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  • ISMB/ECCB 2015: Farhad Hormozdiari, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
  • ISMB 2014: Andrey D. Prjibelski, St. Petersburg Academic University, Russia
  • ISMB/ECCB 2013: Wyatt Clark, Indiana University, United States
  • ISMB 2012: Deniz Yorukoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  • ISMB/ECCB 2011: Sara Berthoumieux, Inria, France
  • ISMB 2010: Keren Yizhak, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • ISMB/ECCB 2009: Manfred Claassen, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • ISMB 2008: Lucas Ward, Columbia University, United States

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RCSB PDB Poster Prize

The RCSB PDB Poster Prize will be awarded for the best poster related to structure and function prediction. The award will consist of a related educational book.

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Royal Society of Chemistry Best Poster Prize

The RSC Chemical Biology Poster Prize will be awarded for the best poster related to novel methodology development in the general area of computational biology. The award will consist of a €100 cash.

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