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Bio•IT World’s Coming Attractions

Feb. 12, 2007 | The 2007 Bio•IT World Conference & Expo will be held at the World Trade Center, Boston, for three days, from April 30 to May 2. The conference features five tracks: Cheminformatics; E-Clinical Research and Translational Medicine; IT Infrastructure; Discovery Informatics; and Computational Biology and Data Analysis. Here is a preview at some of this year’s coming attractions. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating our fifth anniversary!

— The Editors

Experts in the fields of computational biology, cheminformatics, drug discovery and next-generation DNA sequencing will keynote the 2007 Bio•IT World Conference & Expo. David Shaw (Columbia University), Jonathan Rothberg (454 Life Sciences), and Andrew Hopkins (Pfizer) will headline the fifth anniversary conference hosted by Bio•IT World and produced by Cambridge Healthtech Institute.

David Shaw is senior research fellow at the Columbia University Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Two decades ago, he established the D. E. Shaw group, the hugely successful investment and technology development firm with some $23 billion in assets. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Shaw to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. While still chairman of his firm, Shaw returned to Columbia University a few years ago, where his multidisciplinary research team is designing machine architectures and algorithms for high-speed biomolecular simulations, including drug design, protein folding, and protein-protein interactions (See “David Shaw,” Bio•IT World, June 2006 p. 32).
April 30, 4:15 pm: “New Architectures for a New Biology”

Jonathan Rothberg is the founder and former President/CEO of Curagen, a biopharma company based in Connecticut. In 1999, Rothberg conceived a spin-off company dedicated to developing novel nanotech methods of DNA sequencing. Today, Rothberg serves as the chairman of 454 Life Sciences, which developed the first commercial sequence-by-synthesis instrument in 2005. In a landmark paper in Nature in 2005, 454 scientists announced the successful sequencing of a bacterial genome in just hours on one instrument. The technology has also been a critical partner in decoding 1 million bases of the Neanderthal genome. But it is in the field of personalized medicine and the “$1000 genome” where Rothberg believes his technology will ultimately have its greatest impact. 454’s new instrument —the FLX — debuts this Spring.
May 1, 8:30 a.m.: “454 and the Future of Next-Generation Sequencing”

Andrew Hopkins is a computational chemist with Pfizer, based in Sandwich, U.K. In 2002, Hopkins and Colin Groom published a seminal paper on the concept of the “druggable genome,” providing an estimate of the portion of the human genome directly amenable to drug targeting. Hopkins’ research has continued in that vein, blending computational biology and chemistry and highlighted by a major paper last year in Nature Biotechnology on the global mapping of pharmacological space. Most recently, he co-authored a commentary on the molecular pharmacopoeia — revising the estimated total number of approved drug targets, a prerequisite for the development of predictive methods to identify potential drug targets. (The number, incidentally, is 324.)
May 2, 8:10 a.m.: “Drug Discovery 2.0”

The annual OSLUG — Oracle’s Life Sciences User Group — meeting will be held on the first day of the conference. In addition to familiar Oracle faces such as Susie Stephens and meeting organizer Charlie Berger, speakers include Marcus Collins describing the drug discovery enterprise architecture at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, and BG Medicine’s Tom Plasterer on dataset integration in systems pharmacology. There will also be workshops on the use of 10g and introductions to Data Miner, SQL Developer, and interMedia for image archiving.
April 30, 8:00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.: Oracle 8th International Life Sciences User Group

It’s been two years since vice president Mark Boguski arrived at Novartis charged with integrating groups in functional genomics and informatics. Boguski will speak on how the analysis of dynamic signaling networks “provides a new grammar for drug discovery,” both for identifying new targets as well as predicting potential “off target” effects.
May 1, 1:45 p.m.: “Systems Biology: Integrating in silico and experimental approaches to study signaling networks”

Saul Kravitz
, of the J. Craig Venter Institute, will describe the computational infrastructure underlying CAMERA, the bioinformatics resource for metagenomics data that is scheduled to debut this Spring. CAMERA aims to provide high-performance networking access and grid-based computing, and new ways of visualizing and interacting with the waves of environmental and metagenomics data currently being produced.
May 2, 3:00 p.m.: “CAMERA - A community resource for metagenomics”

The Vital-IT HPC Center was established in 2003 as a joint venture between Swiss universities, HP, and Intel. Victor Jongeneel, the center’s director, will describe the center’s work as a test bed for new technologies and support in basic and applied life sciences research.
May 2, 3:00 p.m.: “Vital-IT: A model alliance between academia and industry”

“For the first time,” warns the Broad Institute’s Toby Bloom, “the cost of informatics may dwarf the cost of reagents.” The Broad sequencing center currently generates about 60 billion bases of DNA sequence per year. Bloom says new technologies from the likes of 454 and Solexa will generate that amount of data per week. A companion talk from Harvard Medical School’s Eugene Clark and Greg Porreca, will look at the IT infrastructure harnessed to polony sequencing as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project.
May 2, 11:15 a.m.: “Informatics infrastructure for next generation sequencing technologies”

One of the highlights of this event — certainly for the exhibitors — is the presentation of the Bio•IT World Best of Show awards. Having pre-selected the dozen most innovative and exciting new products on display at the show, Bio•IT World editors and expert judges interview each of the companies live on the show floor, before retiring to select the winners in various categories. Join us over food and drinks for the all-important results.
May 1, 6:15 p.m.: The 2007 Best of Show Awards

For the fourth year running, Bio•IT World is pleased to partner with Bioinformatics.Org to present the winner of the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award. The winner is the scientist who, in the opinion of the thousands of organization members, best exemplifies the values of freedom and sharing espoused by Franklin himself. The winner will be selected from four finalists, and will deliver a lecture after the presentation. The finalists are Sean Eddy, HHMI; Robert Gentleman, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Don Gilbert, Indiana University; and Steven Salzberg, University of Maryland.
May 2, 8:55 a.m.: 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award.

According to AstraZeneca’s director of discovery medicine informatics, Anastasia Khoury Christianson, perhaps the biggest technical and cultural gap between discovery and clinical divisions is the gulf between science and IT. Christianson will present the challenges — and hopefully some solutions — faced in enabling translational science.
May 1, 2:15 p.m.: “Enabling translation medicine: Bridging the gap between science and IT”

As described in Bio•IT World last October (See “Search and Deploy,” Bio•IT World, October 2006), William Hayes is spearheading Biogen-Idec’s use of literature informatics for a variety of applications, including biomarker development, toxicology, and protein target validation. Hayes will give examples of such applications, and show how visualization of literature-derived data provides a new dimension on the extracted information.
May 1, 4:15 p.m.: “Literature informatics: Leveraging external knowledge for drug discovery”

IBM’s T. J. Watson Computational Biology Center has a deserved reputation for innovation in computer science. The center’s director, Ajay Royyuru, returns to the Bio•IT World Expo to present the latest progress in computing architecture and scale, which IBM is applying to a stunning range of processes “from atomic to cellular and beyond.”
May 1, 11.30 a.m.: “Deep computing in biology: Challenges and progress”

At Harvard, a number of research and clinical centers are creating a next generation enterprise infrastructure with the goal of integrating complementary applications across the research-clinical lifecycle. Samuel Aronson and Diane Keogh present the Harvard Partners view to building the necessary eClinical infrastructure while maintaining patient privacy and regulatory compliance.
May 2, 12:00 p.m.: “Crossing the chasm, from research to clinical and back”

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