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ISCB Student Council Newsletter #1, December 2005

Dear Student Council Member!

Welcome to the very first ISCB Student Council Newsletter! The Student Council Leadership has agreed that this is the best way to keep you updated about the work of the Student Council. We plan to send out a quarterly newsletter in the future and we hope that you will find this a useful resource.

As the end of the year is nearing, the Student Council Leadership is busy planning activities for 2006. One of our goals is to increase our members' involvement in those activities and we are taking several approaches to accomplish this. Please take some time to read this newsletter. Find out about our plans for the next year and how you can contribute to our efforts. We hope this newsletter encourages you to actively participate in the development of our organization!

Please send comments and questions about this newsletter to Thank you!

Your Student Council Newsletter Team

News from the Student Council Leadership

Project Groups

The Student Council leadership wants to include more Student Council members in the planning and organization of our activities. Thus we have decided to establish so-called "project groups".

Project groups will be formed to work on a specific project such as the organization of our Student Council Symposium. A project group could also be formed to evaluate the demographics of the Student Council members or to develop a Student Council brochure and so on.

The groups will be made up of Student Council members that are interested in contributing to our joint efforts. In addition, the project groups will include members from one or more Student Council committees. We think that this is a great opportunity for members that would like to contribute without a long-term commitment and without having to take over a lot of responsibility.

A call for participation in a project group will be sent out by one of the Student Council committees. That committee will also appoint a person who is in charge of the project group. The person in charge will assign specific tasks to project group members and report to the Student Council leadership on the groups activities.

Tasks for project group members could include things such as reviews of Student Council related conference proceedings, design and maintenance of webpages, conference logistics, help with social activities, design of funding proposals as well as search for funding agencies.

We hope that through participation in project groups Student Council members will be encouraged to actively participate in our committees and in the Student Council leadership.

Local Affiliated Groups

The Student Council Leadership would like to stimulate more activity at a local level. We are planning to create links with existing student societies in Computational Biology and encourage students to start new groups and projects at a local level. Our goal is to better serve regional communities by offering support for networking and educational events. We are currently working out the details but we would like to hear from you. If you are in a local student group related to Computational Biology or are interested to start one, please write to

Preview of Upcoming Activities

Student Council Symposium 2006

We are currently in the early stages of planning the 2nd Student Council Symposium. The feedback we have received through evaluation of the questionnaires handed out during the last symposium in Madrid is a key instrument to adjust our activities to the needs and expectations of the student community. Please check our website frequently for updates on this!

ISMB 2006

The Student Council is going to organize activities for students at ISMB, which will take place from August 6th through August 10th in Fortaleza, Brazil. More information about our agenda will be included in the next newsletter and posted on our website once confirmed.

BioSysBio and YBF 2007

Two European bioinformatics and systems biology meetings will come together in a single meeting in the UK in early 2007 with the support of the ISCB Student Council. The YBF (Young Bioinformatics Forum) and BioSysBio meetings will join forces for a meeting designed to bring together interdisciplinary research in systems biology, bioinformatics and synthetic biology.

A number of established faculty will be speaking, followed by the opportunity to hear the latest research from up and coming students and postdocs in each field. More information will be made available at and

Review of Past Activities

Student Council Symposium at ECCB 2005

The 1st Student Council Symposium was held on 28th of September immediately preceding ECCB 2005 in Madrid. We initiated the review process of student abstracts and were pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity of abstracts submitted. We received over 60 abstracts in 7 different categories covering a wide range of topics within computational biology. From these we selected 20 for oral presentation on the symposium and another 36 for poster presentations at ECCB. For more information on the 1st International Student Council Symposium in Computational Biology please visit

We are pleased to announce that Anna Divoli from the University of Manchester won the Best Student Presentation Award for her talk "BioQSpace: An interactive visualisation tool for clustering MEDLINE abstracts" by popular vote. The award was kindly sponsored by BMC Bioinformatics.

The Student Symposium was evaluated by means of a questionnaire that was handed out to the approximately 120 participants. The Student Council Leadership is extremely pleased with the outcome. Feel free to have a look at the questionnaire and the evaluation on the Marketing Committee's website at

BioSapiens Network of Excellence

At ECCB 2005 a meeting was organised to discuss the provision of Bioinformatics courses within Europe. The idea is to create an online overview of courses within Europe, which will help prospective students to make a choice. This overview will be an extension of the currently available information on the BioSapiens website,

Representatives of the student council were invited to give a presentation at this meeting about the current activities of the student council relating to the provision of information to students. We were also able to make suggestions for future developments of the resources.

Currently there exists a list for international Master's courses on the ISCB website at One of our proposals is to survey the ISCB Student Council to find out how helpful this list is and what can be improved. For the purpose of BioSapiens, to begin with we are primarily interested in the opinion of European students. An official survey of student members of ISCB will be due soon, and we hope to take this on as part of the survey.

Activities at ISMB 2005

At ISMB 2005 in Detroit the Student Council hosted several events especially for students. For instance, there were one on one mentorship sessions with faculty members and a panel discussion with several established researchers. The panel discussion included talks on topics such as "Industrial Career Prospects in Computational Biology" and "How to Write My Paper to Have It Published in a Computational Biology Journal?". We also presented a poster about our website and some of our long-term projects, such as the Project Pairing Program.

In addition to these activities, several Student Council leaders had the opportunity to talk about the Student Council's progress and future goals with members of the ISCB Board of Directors. The discussions were very fruitful and motivated us in our efforts to build a student organization within the ISCB. To maintain those important contacts we are regularly exchanging ideas and plans with the ISCB leadership through our Student Council Representative to the Board of Directors, Manuel Corpas.

Another positive aspect related to our ISMB 2005 activities was the Top Performer Award. This award was a travel grant to attend ISMB and given to the most active Student Council leader. This year's winner was Sarath Chandra Janga, currently Vice Chair of the Student Council.

Student Council Calendar

December 2005

  • Renew your ISCB and Student Council membership for another year at! Memberships are no longer tied to the calendar year. Whenever you renew your membership will be good for another full 12 months.

February 2006

  • ISCB Student Council Newsletter #2 will be send out.

August 2006

  • 6th - 10th, ISMB 2006, Fortaleza, Brasil


ISCB Student Council Website

Conference & Meeting Dates

Student Council History

BioSysBio Conference Website

BioSapiens Network of Excellence

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Contributing Writers