Molecular big data, a new weapon for medicine

August 28, 2019

From 9 to 11 September, the [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference, organized by the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, will bring together international and Swiss-based scientists working in this field, in one of the key bioinformatics events in Europe: a prime opportunity to hear from leading experts, from precision oncology to infectious diseases.

Why is computational biology key? Technological advances have brought us to the genomic era at full speed, with human sequence data flowing into global repositories at an exponential rate. When combined with the growing wealth of digital health records and clinical trials, these terabytes of data promise invaluable insights into the biological mechanisms of human health, aging and disease. However, without state-of-the-art computational methods, resources and solutions - including machine learning approaches - it is virtually impossible to extract knowledge from them, let alone to derive clinical applications. The [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference precisely aims to foster the transfer of such know-how among today's scientists.

Swiss expertise, international reach. Switzerland has a history of excellence in curation and analysis of biological data thanks to the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, created 20 years ago. Every two years, the Institute organizes [BC]2, which this year aims to help filling the gap between Big Data and clinical applications, through a series of workshops and plenary sessions detailing the current status of knowledge. Attracting prestigious keynote speakers and over 300 attendees from around the globe, the conference is deeply rooted in Switzerland, with a scientific committee exclusively composed of Group Leaders of the SIB, including co-chairs Niko Beerenwinkel (ETH Zurich) and Erik van Nimwegen (University of Basel). "The application of Big Data in Medicine holds enormous promise, but by and large these great expectations have yet to be fulfilled. It's a real privilege to be able to gather the world's experts in Switzerland to survey where we stand, and discuss what the key challenges are to realizing this promise", says van Nimwegen.

From precision oncology to infectious diseases - what experts have to say. Three themes of broad significance emerge from the conference's multiple tracks and sessions:In 2019, [BC]2 will be an integral part of BASEL LIFE, Europe's leading congress in the Life Sciences, taking place at the Congress Center in Basel. The event will thus foster scientific exchanges between computational and experimental disciplines, and between academia and the industry.

Distinguishing the next generation of bioinformaticians: the SIB Awards

The [BC]2 conference will also host the SIB Awards Ceremony, which will, for the 10th time, honor the excellence of two early career researchers - international as well as Swiss-based - as well as of a bioinformatics resource (database or software) of particular importance for the life science community. Such recognition acts as a springboard for young researchers as well as for emerging tools as past awardees told us in a series of interviews.

Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

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