For 5 days in July, I was fortunate enough to attend the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) / European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB), which was held in the rather stunning Dublin convention center. This is the biggest bioinformatics conference around, and it was amazing to see the work of thousands of fellow researchers. There were 4 keynote presentations, over 100 talks, 600 posters, and Q&A sessions with industry. It was great to get a chance to talk to Dutch biotech entrepreneurs, the head of IBM’s bioinformatics program, and a research director with Pfizer.
There were a lot of great talks, on some very interesting topics (well, interesting to me): “Understanding operon evolution using an event-driven model and phylogenetic visualizations”, “Inferring parental genomic ancestries using pooled semi-Markov processes”, “Detecting molecular similarities between allergenic and metazoan parasitic proteins: allergy in the light of immunity”, and many more. Another highlight of the conference was the reception dinner, which involved a tour of the absolutely enormous Guinness brewery. The complex includes dozens of buildings, and must cover at least 10 city blocks on either side. Fun fact: this is where William Sealy Gosset was working when he developed the t-test in 1908.
There weren’t many hotels available in the area, so I was forced to stay in the Marker, a glorious building just across the river from the convention center. Besides the great location, they served up an amazingly delicious breakfast every morning before the conference began. I can still remember the buttered toast, potatoes, and espresso. It was really a great experience, and I’m thankful I was able to attend.
Article by Dave Curran, PhD candidate in the Wasmuth lab.