Thursday, July 16, 2015

BOSC 2015: amazing as always

I just returned from ISMB/ECCB 2015 conference that was in Dublin. However, I would like to describe my favorite pre-conference event. Of course, this is BOSC. I consider BOSC as one of the best conferences due to the importance of "open" activity in any science. As always, all the presentations were awesome. Hopefully the videos of the talks will be available soon, I look forward to it. Here I'll just mention some talks that were specially interesting for me.

Of course, both keynotes were amazing.

First one was from Holly Bik. As a biologist she turned to bioinformatics and described in detail this process and current results. Already from the name of the talk it's clear to understand the main point: "Bioinformatics: Still a scary world for biologists". As a bioinformatician in frequent contact with biologists I understand this status and totally agree with it. Biologists have a lot of work to do, and getting experience in bioinformatics is not so easy. However, it is great that there are already more and more biologists who are going deeper in this direction.

Second keynote was from Ewan Birney, a Joint Associate Director of EMBL-EBI and co-founder of Open Bioinformatics Foundation. He is a perfect example of bioinformatics super-specialist. Several topics were described in detail during this talk. The most interesting subject in my opinion - importance of open source code. Three basic reasons: transparency, efficiency and community. In the end of the talk there was a surprising block about storing of text information in DNA (more details here). In this case one room will be enough to keep encoded in DNA "all" written books. So, if you read "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury, this looks like a perfect solution for the main problem.

Among other talks I was especially interested in RNA-seq analysis. "GO express" project presented by Kevin Rue-Albrecht is a nice example of a detailed clustering and group detection investigation from gene expression analysis.

One other project I would like to mention is a novel pipeline design toolkit called Nextflow (presented by Paolo Di Tommaso). Of course, there is a number of workflow managers. However the toolkit that can be applied only by creating small scripts to make runs parallel and with detailed reports is very useful for practical bioinformaticians.

The most surprising talk for me that was from Bastian Greshake about openSNP database. Basically this database allows to submit personal SNP data created by companies such as 23andme. In result it provides rather interesting statistics comparison from supplied datasets. This comparison might be useful for for future research projects and even just for users to find people rather similar to them. One cool point: disclaimer, totally recommend to read it!

I was also giving a small talk during the conference. It was about second version of Qualimap. The talk was rather quick (only 5 mintues, no questions afterwards) therefore very useful as practice. Additionally I got several interesting questions in the poster session. Moreover, I met people who are using Qualimap and additionally during the ISMB/ECCB conference there was a cool poster about Eager project from Alexander Peltzer that mentions Qualimap as a part of a pipeline.

Ok, that is enough about BOSC event, totally recommend to visit the next one during ISMB 2016!