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Conference Highlights Cutting-Edge Computational Genomics Research


RESTON, Va.--An agenda anchored by two-hour tutorials on hidden Markov models, database systems for genomic applications, and novel tools for target validation is expected to attract nearly 250 attendees to the Conference on Computational Genomics here October 31-November 3.

Sponsored by the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), the conference, now in its second year, aims to generate discussion about new ideas and research methods in computational genomics, conference cochair Tony Kerlavage, director of gene discovery for Celera Genomics, told BioInform. Twenty-six speakers representing industry, government, and academia will address topics in areas such as gene discovery, functional analysis, annotation, proteomics, comparative genomics, expression analysis, databases and datamining, and visualization tools.

Kerlavage predicted that a highlight of the conference will be Tuesday morning's session on expression analysis. The session's speakers include Masaru Tomita of Keio University, Japan, who will give an overview of the E-cell project "Towards Integrative Simulation of Cellular Processes"; Michael Bittner of the US National Human Genome Research Institute on "Challenges of Obtaining and Evaluating Gene Expression Profiles"; David Balaban of Affymetrix on "Gene Expression Tools"; and Andrea Califano of the IBM TJ Watson Research Center on "Pattern Discovery in Continuous Functions: Applications to Gene Expression Analysis and Structural Biology."

"We have good coverage of gene discovery and analysis and annotation fields," Kerlavage added, "with an opening talk by Doug Brutlag of Stanford University on "Highly Specific Sequence Motifs," other motifs talks Sunday morning, and later talks that will look at whole genome analysis."

International projects will also be well represented. Ian Holmes of the Sanger Centre will speak on "Multiple Alignment Accuracy with Postal"; Jeremy Parsons of the European Bioinformatics Institute will present "Linking Databases Using EST's and CORBA"; David Ussery of the Technical University of Denmark will present "Gene Finding in 3D"; and Manuel Peitsch of Glaxo Wellcome will present "3D Crunch: A Very Large-Scale Automated Protein Modeling Experiment."

According to Kerlavage there is little overlap between the conference and informatics sessions at the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference (GSAC), also sponsored by TIGR, last month in Miami. "This conference is much more broadly focused on all of the computational methods applied to genomics," he said. "At GSAC, people give 20-minute talks in the informatics sessions. Here they have 45 minutes to really go into depth about their research."

The computational genomics event also attracts a different audience, Kerlavage continued. "We get a very even mix of biologists and computer scientists. GSAC attracts more people focused on genomics research and doesn't get this sort of response from the computer scientists."

A total of 24 posters and 22 electronic posters will be on display during the conference, as will the products of four exhibitors: Silicon Genetics, Gene Logic, Paracel, and the US National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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