Science

Unanswered Questions in Transcription – CRI Symposium 2011


The Unanswered Question series is my institute‘s showing-off event: two days, four sessions, and the world’s best speakers. This year’s symposium happened just last week (Nov 4-5) and the topic was Unanswered Questions in Transcription.

The session I had organized on regulatory networks featured Daphne Koller (Stanford),  Shirley Liu (Harvard), Dana Pe’er (Columbia), Joe Gray (OHSU) and Jan Korbel (EMBL).

Many of the topics we discussed were close to what we are doing here in my group – uncomfortably close in some cases. Well, at least we are competing with the right people …

Daphne Koller and Dana Pe’er, in particular, have interests very close to my own research. They presented work on using probabilistic graphical models on genomic data sets. The methods they presented are all off-spring of the module networks first applied in yeast back in 2003. Now of course the method is much more mature: the classification trees have been largely substituted by elastic-net regression and there are really smart ways to select potential regulators based on prior knowledge. It’s exciting to see how a methodology develops over time, starting out from a simple(?) model organism and after some years identifying drivers of cancer.

Another exciting development is the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine that Joe Gray has started. That’s a research direction we will hear much more about in the next years: integrating molecular data with imaging data on the tumor microenvironment to understand structural and mechanical properties of the tumor tissue.

And here some advertising for next year’s symposium:

Unanswered Questions in Cancer Sequencing, 2-3 November 2012.

The 2012 Symposium will focus on questions relating to cancer sequencing, specifically:

  • Functional genomics of cancer
  • Challenges facing the computational biology of cancer sequencing
  • The ICGC and cancer genome sequencing efforts
  • The impact of cancer sequencing on medicine.

Confirmed session chairs are

  • Ewan Birney (European Bioinformatics Insitute)
  • Eric Lander (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard)
  • Mike Stratton (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)
  • Barbara Wold (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda)

Highest quality talks again. Hope to see you all there!

Florian

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