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MCBIOS X conference to be held in Columbia

MCBIOSlogo copyMidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society’s (MCBIOS) 2013 conference will be held in Columbia, Mo., this year and chaired by Gordon Springer, MU associate professor of computer science and scientific director of MU’s bioinformatics research collaborations. Springer also serves as director of research support computing for MU’s Division of IT. Springer’s colleague, Chi-Ren Shyu, Shumaker Endowed Professor of Computer Science and director of MU’s Informatics Institute, serves as conference vice-chair.

Scheduled for April 5-6, this year marks the “10th anniversary in a decade of change” for the event, and the theme of MCBIOS X is “Discovery in a Sea of Data.”

“Biology is the last of the sciences to be computerized,” Springer said. “The driving force was the sequencing of the human genome. There’s so much data, both visual and textual, and there was lots of talk about how it would be stored and made available.”

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MU Associate Professor of computer science Gordon Springer chairs this year’s MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society’s 2013 conference, which will be held in Columbia in April. This is the 10th year for the conference, themed, “Discovery in a Sea of Data.”

Springer said MCBIOS was formed by a regional group of bioscience and bioinformatics researchers primarily to provide opportunities for students in this field to make connections and to have access to mentoring opportunities. The Association of Biomolecular Research Facilities provides $10,000 to the conference each year, funds that are used for such things as travel grants for students whose papers are selected for presentation.

Conference tracks include: next gen sequencing, omics-high content, text-mining/data mining, knowledge-based learning, algorithm/software/modeling, biostatistics, systems biology and integrated analysis.

Oral presentation abstracts for student travel award consideration are due Feb. 15. Abstracts for oral presentations are due Feb. 22, and poster abstracts are due March 1. Prizes will be awarded for the best student/post-doc presentations and posters. The top 15 research papers will be published in the BMC Bioinformatics Journal as a special edition.

Photo of Chi-Ren Shyu

Chi-Ren Shyu is the Shumaker Endowed Professor of Computer Science and director of MU’s Informatics Institute. He also serves as conference vice-chair.

National speakers will include Virginia deVerteuil, a physician at Ohio’s Columbus Children’s Hospital, a statistician and a bioinformatics expert in children’s medicine with an emphasis on cancer.

Also presenting will be John Quackenbush, professor of computational biology and bioinformatics at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Springer said the conference will not be “all work and no play,” and that recreational activities also are being planned.

Missouri is included in the group because of its affiliation and role in the Great Plains Network. Other MCBIOS members include university researchers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

For more information about the conference, or to register, visit mcbios.org.