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Proteomics is a Draw to Beyond Genome 2000, But Bioinformatics is Still the Main Attraction


SAN FRANCISCO--Bioinform-atics topics are the main draw of the Beyond Genome 2000 conference being held here this week, but organizers at Cambridge Healthtech Institute, which holds the meeting, said proteomics is an increasingly popular attraction. All told, the institute expects 800 individuals to attend the three-part meeting June 19-23. Close to 30 companies will exhibit.


More than 60 percent of registrants at last year’s meeting were from biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies.


While more than 300 people have registered to attend lectures on proteomics, and 250 are expected for another component of the meeting called In Silico Biology, as many as 500 are expected for the ninth annual Bioinformatics meeting: two days of lectures by 24 of the field’s authorities. Speakers will address four themes: structural biology, gene discovery, software engineering and data management, and interpretation of expressed genes.


Conference director Christina Lingham said highlights of the bioinformatics session would include: Kenneth Buetow, chief of the laboratory of population genetics at the US National Cancer Institute, speaking about his team’s use of informatics tools to examine redundant raw sequence data to identify polymorphisms; Cyrus Harmon, CEO of Neomorphic, who will describe his company’s tools and approach to annotating the complete human genome sequence; Yannick Pouliot, director of bioinformatics knowledge engineering for DoubleTwist, who will talk about his company’s Web-based computational environment for interpreting working-draft human genome sequence data; Russ Altman, assistant professor of medical informatics at Stanford University, who will discuss the challenges he is facing building the Stanford Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base, PharmGKB; and John Weinstein, senior research investigator at the US National Cancer Institute’s laboratory of molecular pharmacology, describing novel data analysis and visualization tools developed at the NIH.


The two-day In Silico Biology meeting during Beyond Genome 2000 will explore tools being developed to translate raw data into workable models that can provide guidance for target selection. Four more themes--organs and systems, cells, targets, and linking genes to pathways to diseases--will be addressed by 20 more speakers. Those include Guenther Kurapkat, senior manager of bioinformatics at Lion Bioscience, who will describe Lion’s Genome Comparison tool for scanning, querying, combining, and visualizing all necessary data for an efficient analysis of the genome of interest. Also, Michael Liebman, director of computational biology and global head computational of genetics for Roche Biosciences, will speak about how his company is exploring in silico modeling of the underlying physiology of potential drug targets as a method to aid in the evaluation and validation of targets that are most likely to produce drug candidates with optimal efficacy and minimal side effects.


Another 20 speakers on proteomics include representatives of companies and organizations including CuraGen, Genentech, Molecular Simulations, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research addressing the themes protein-protein interaction studies, protein identification and analysis, databases and informatics, and proteomics applications.


--Adrienne Burke

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