Posts Tagged Cambridge

The BioSysBio conference 2009

The Genomics GTL Pictorial Program.
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The premise of the BioSysBio conference is to

bring together the best young researchers working in Synthetic Biology, Systems Biology and Bioinformatics, providing a platform to hear and discuss the most recent and scientific advances and applications in these fascinating fields.

This years BioSysBio 09 has just taken place in Cambridge, UK. The program was more slanted towards synthetic biology rather than more traditional systems biology, which I think reflects the growing momentum that synthetic biology has gained in the past year. I think this is a good progress and  I was secretley glad as I did not want to spend 3 days looking at massive network diagrams squashed onto power point slides.

This was the first conference I had been to that the organisers actually requested that we use the BioSysBio FriendFeed room and Twitter to communicate, so I did. Half way through the first day the organisers demonstrated the FF room, which seemed to exist solely of Allyson’s posts, and questions were asked if she was a blogging bot. When we did confirm there was actually a female at an engineering conference, she was thereafter known as the BioSysBio poster girl.

As ever Ally was monumental in her blogging during the conference and all her posts can be found here. At one stage Simon did try to blog her talk to the same detail and speed, but he just kept coming up withe excuses about the wifi being slow – eventually he got there.

This was the first time I attended BioSysBio and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In general all of the talks were of a high standard most notable for me were Allyson Lister’s talk on Saint: a lightweight SBML annotation integration environment, Christina Smolke on  Programming RNA Devices to Control Cellular Information Processing, Piers Millet on Why Secure Synthetic Biology? and Drew Endy on Building a new Biology. It was also good to hear about improvements for the Registry of standard biological parts by Randy Rettberg and the wiki style community building of the product catalogue, or data sheet about each part.

There is no point in me re-posting coverage that has already been documented, so if you would like to follow what happened you can follow the #biosysbio twitter stream, the biosysbio FreindFeed Room, or if you want a more comprehensive overview, Ally’s blog.

This was also the first time I had used twitter (via tweetdeck) instead of Friendfeed to microblog a conference. This approach certainly generated alot of noise and random soundbites, and was probably a fast way to make notes. However, although everything is grouped under the #biosysbio tag, they are not grouped around a particular talk or discussion thread. I can’t help thinking that microblogging via FriendFeed would be more focused around a specific talk and provide a more focused discussion, as opposed to just covering what was happening second by second.

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All change in 2009, no more academia

The Tyne Bridge across the River Tyne between ...
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Last week I completed what was my first week of working in academia in 2009 and also my last for the foreseeable future. I have decided to leave academia, as well as Newcastle to take a position in a Biotech company in Cambridge.

I have certainly enjoyed just over 5 years working in Newcastle encompassing my PhD and a postdoc. Within that time my research interests have developed from representing scientific data, to data standards to ontology development. I am still maintaining some of my research interests in my new position. I will be working for an antibody company called Abcam, and as part of my role I will be investigating how to represent their product catalogue as an ontology and how users can have a more direct interaction with it.

I am really looking forward to this fresh challenge. I don’t know how this change of position will effect the content of this blog, although I expect it to still largely reflect my interests on the representation of scientific data and open science. I think its probably safe to assume there might be the odd post about antibodies as well.

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