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NBIC Conference 2009

The 3rd annual NBIC Conference, held on March 17 and 18 2009 in Lunteren, was visited by over 250 researchers in bioinformatics, both from academia and industry. The meeting offered a diverse menu with international guest speakers and presentations of a selection of NBIC-Biorange projects, as well as workshops, poster presentations, an application showcase and a meeting of NBIC Phd students.

Four international guest speakers were invited to give a keynote lecture:  Prof. Lars Juhl Jensen (European molecular Biology laboratory, EMBL) spoke about uncovering protein kinase signalling networks through integration data and his internationally acclaimed
STRING database. Dr. Gunnar Rätsch (Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society, Germany) was invited to speak about novel methods for computational analysis of transcriptomes which yield more accurate ways of gene prediction.

A completely different subject was handled by Prof. Eske Willerslev (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) who gave an overview of the research into ancient DNA from fossil remains for evolutionary and population genetics studies. Retrieval of high quality reliable source material is not an easy task in this field.

Dr. Ruiquian Li of the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in Shenzhen (China) gave an impressive overview of the scientifc approaches and achievements in the area of next generation sequencing and associated bioinformatics in which BGI has developed rapidly into one of the major players.

The winner of this year’s application Showcase award was Matthew Hestand of Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) with his software called 'CORE_TF: a user-friendly interface to identify evolutionary conserved transcription factor binding sites in sets of co-regulated genes'. 

Out of 20 projects selected for presentation in one of the meeting sessions, Marco de Groot (Delft University of Technology) was awarded the 2009 prize for best scientifc presentation entitled ‘Metabolic Network Reconstruction based on a-specifc enzyme activity’. Another LUMC PhD student, Chris Lauber, received the award for best poster on a new quantitative method to classify RNA viruses based upon pair wise evolutionary analysis. 

Dr. Barend Mons was invited to introduce the Concept Web Alliance, a global collaboration initiative on semantic technologies for the life sciences, started from the Netherlands.