Student Organized Symposia
First Annual Bioinformatics Program Student-Organized Symposium
June 9, 2006
Adam Gustafson (Chair)
Transcriptional regulation is at the heart of much of the research in the Boston University bioinformatics program, so it was fitting that the first annual bioinformatics program student-organized symposium, held on June 9th, 2006, was based on this theme. Chaired by Adam Gustafson, a graduate student in the program, five scientists at the cutting edge of their fields were invited from across the country to present their most recent findings. Many different areas of transcriptional regulation were covered, including:
- motif detection (Dr. Gary Stormo, Washington University in St. Louis),
- epigenetic regulation (Dr. Bing Ren, UCSD),
- network modeling (Dr. Mark Gerstein, Yale),
- evolution of regulation (Dr. Michael Eisen, Lawrence Berkely National Labs)
- and even the real-time in vivo visualization of transcription factor activity (Dr. Tom Misteli, NIH).
But what really separated this symposium from others was its focus on interaction with the guest speakers. Or more specifically, on encouraging interaction between guest speakers and graduate students in the program. "What we really wanted to do was create an environment where it was easy for students to talk with the invited speakers," said Adam Gustafson. To accomplish this, events such as a panel discussion and a student hosted lunch were held, in addition to a small poster session and three student talks. "We felt that giving our own graduate students a chance to present their research alongside our invited speakers would help to open up a dialogue," Adam said.
Well over 100 students and faculty from Boston University and the greater Boston area were in attendance. The future of the symposium appears solid, with funding now provided by an NSF IGRT grant awarded to Dr. Gary Benson, Director of the BU bioinformatics program.