September 24, 2012 | Vienna may be known as the City of Music, but in three weeks it will also be a hub for life sciences, informatics, and IT. Bio-IT World’s fourth European Conference & Expo finds a new home in Vienna, Austria, bringing tracks on drug discovery informatics; data infrastructure and high performance computing; cloud-based bioinformatics and clinical genomics to the heart of Europe.
For the past three years, Bio-IT World Euorpe has been held in Hannover, Germany, co-located with the BioTechnica trade show. But with BioTechnica taking a break this year, Bio-IT World Europe organizers had a more or less free hand in selecting the location of this year’s event.
“We’re really excited to be holding our annual European conference in Vienna this time around,” said Kevin Davies, editor of Bio-IT World. “As usual, the conference will showcase major advances in high-performance computing and strategies for handling life sciences data—from storage and security to management, transport and analysis.”
“We’re also pushing into some new areas,” Davies added. “In addition to a really strong program in drug discovery informatics, we’re also introducing sessions devoted to clinical genomics, which introduces an entirely new set of challenges for data management and interpretation.”
With four tracks covering three days, it is a dangerous proposition to single out any of the speakers on the program, but here are just a few of the potential highlights that we’re particularly excited about:
Paul Flicek (EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, UK) believes hosting large genomics datasets in the cloud—such as the 1000 Genomes Project or Ensembl—frees researchers to undertake projects that would be impossible otherwise, so he and colleagues are adapting increasing complex analysis and annotation pipelines for the cloud in an effort to democratize high quality genome assembly and annotation is the same way that NGS technology made the production of the sequence itself available to anyone.
Fresh off his keynote slot at the Bio-IT World Expo in Boston earlier this year, Eric Perakslis (CIO and Chief Scientist of Informatics, FDA; see, Eric Perakslis’ Informatics Prescription for FDA) will be joined by Luc Verhelst (CIO, European Medicines Agency), and Alison Davis (Director, Information Management, The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) in presenting a session on Big and Small Data in Regulation, with particular emphasis on areas of agreement and potential discord on both sides of the Atlantic. Wednesday afternoon, Track 3
Hakon Gudbjartsson (deCODE Genetics, Iceland) will introduce the Clinical Sequence Miner, a system for large-scale clinical sequence analysis based on a novel architecture which provides a more scalable framework for working with large volumes of sequence data and can be used in a cloud based setting. Tuesday, afternoon, Track 1
Folker Meyer (Argonne National Lab, US) will present SHOCK, a cloud-enabled, federated data sharing mechanism for large scale bioinformatics projects. SHOCK is being used on large scale metagenomics projects like the Earth Microbiome Project. Tuesday afternoon, Track 2
Yike Guo (Imperial College London, UK) tackles knowledge management for public-private partnerships in translational science and introduces the IMI eTRIKS consortium. eTRIKS aims to provide a central knowledge management service in IMI to support such translational studies, building on the open source tranSMART platform (see, Running tranSMART for the Drug Discovery Marathon). Tuesday morning keynote
Mohamed Abouelhoda (Nile University, Egypt) champions open source resources and the cloud by combining Taverna and Galaxy, the most popular workflow systems in bioinformatics. Tavaxy enables hybrid composition of Taverna and Galaxy workflows in addition to other tools and supports use of cloud computing. Thursday morning, Track 4
The New York Genome Center (see, Genome Center for Gotham) aims to open by the middle of next year and Dirk Evers, formerly head of informatics for Illumina UK, discusses the unique challenges—in high performance computing infrastructure and the bioinformatics resource framework—in building a collaborative center in the heart of Manhattan that will act as the hub to 11 world-class research institutions. Thursday morning, Track 4
Andrew Hopkins (University of Dundee, UK) is interested in beauty in drug design (see, Drug Discovery in Dundee: A Q&A with Andrew Hopkins). By mining large datasets of medicinal chemistry data, he has begun to develop methods that attempt to formalize the medicinal chemists’ ideas of “creativity” and “chemical beauty” in drug design. Thursday morning, Track 3
Full details of the 2012 Bio-IT World Europe program, including registration, can be found here: http://www.bio-itworldexpoeurope.com/
Bio-IT World Europe thanks our sponsors: Aspera, Hitachi, IBM, GenoLogics, Panasas, Quantum, Thomson Reuters, Genomatix, Linguamatics, Omixon, Persistent, and ScaleMP.