Function SIG Meetings:

Function-SIG 2020 will be held on Monday-Tuesday, July 13-14, 2020 as part of ISMB/ECCB 2020 as a Virtual Conference.

Accepting 2020 abstract submissions

Important Dates:

Thursday, January 30, 2020  Call for Abstracts Opens (for talks and posters)
Thursday, April 30, 2020 Abstracts Submission Deadline (for talks and posters)
Monday, April 15, 2020 Late Poster Submissions Open
Monday, May 4, 2020 Late Poster Submissions Deadline
Thursday, May 14, 2020 Talk and/or Poster Acceptance Notifications
Thursday, May 28, 2020 Late Poster Acceptance Notifications
Monday-Tuesday, July 13-14, 2020 Function SIG meeting at ISMB 2020

Function-SIG 2020 Keynote Speakers

Gary Bader
University of Toronto, Cananda
Speaker Bio: Gary Bader is a Professor at The Donnelly Centre at the University of Toronto. The Bader lab uses molecular interaction, pathway and ‘omics data to gain a ‘causal’ mechanistic understanding of normal and disease phenotypes. They are developing novel computational approaches that combine molecular interaction and pathway information with ‘omics data to develop clinically predictive models and identify therapeutically targetable pathways.

Carolyn Lawrence-Dill
Iowa State University, USA
Speaker Bio: Dr. Lawrence-Dill has devoted over 20 years to developing computational systems/solutions that support the plant research community. Her work enables the use of existing and emerging knowledge to establish common standards and methods for data collection, integration, and sharing. Such efforts help to eliminate redundancy and improve the efficiency of current and future projects, and increase the availability of data and data analysis tools for plant biologists working in diverse crops across the world. Recent efforts in research and community building have focused on predictive plant phenomics. Research projects pursued in her group integrate biology and computer science, but also require an understanding of human/computer interaction, natural language processing, and engineering principles. Example community-building efforts include service as a founding member of the North American Plant Phenotyping Network and creation of an NSF-funded research traineeship (NRT) program that combines principles of plant biology, engineering, and computer science.

Richard Roberts
New England Biolabs, USA
Sir Richard John Roberts was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer at New England Biolabs, Beverly, Massachusetts
Speaker Bio: Dr. Richard J. Roberts is the Chief Scientific Officer at New England Biolabs, Beverly, Massachusetts. He was educated in England, attending St. Stephen’s School and the City of Bath Boys’ School in Bath before moving to the University of Sheffield where he obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1968. His postdoctoral research was carried out in Professor J.L. Strominger’s laboratory at Harvard, where he studied the tRNAs that are involved in the biosynthesis of bacterial cell walls. From 1972 to 1992, he worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, reaching the position of Assistant Director for Research under Dr. J.D. Watson. He began work on the newly discovered Type II restriction enzymes in 1972 and in the next few years more than 100 such enzymes were discovered and characterized in Dr. Roberts’ laboratory. His laboratory has cloned the genes for several restriction enzymes and their cognate methylases and studies of these enzymes has been a major research theme. Dr. Roberts has also been involved in studies of Adenovirus-2 beginning with studies of transcription that led to the discovery of split genes and mRNA splicing in 1977. This was followed by efforts to deduce the DNA sequence of the Adenovirus-2 genome and a complete sequence of 35,937 nucleotides was obtained. This latter project required the extensive use of computer methods, both for the assembly of the sequence and its subsequent analysis. His laboratory pioneered the application of computers in this area and the further development of computer methods of protein and nucleic acid sequence analysis continues to be a major research focus. The field of DNA methyltransferases is also an area of active research interest and crystal structures for the HhaI methyltransferase both alone and in complex with DNA have been obtained in collaboration with Dr. X. Cheng. The latter complex is quite remarkable as the protein causes the target cytosine base to flip completely out of the helix so that it is accessible for chemical reaction. This extreme, but elegant, distortion of the double helix had not been seen previously.

He has been one of the leaders of the COMBREX project that is concerned with the functional annotation of prokaryotic genomes. A major interest at present is the semi-automatic identification of restriction enzyme and methylase genes within the GenBank database and the development of rapid methods to assay function. Already several new specificities have been found and it is clear that there are many more restriction enzyme genes in Nature than had been previously suspected. Using PacBio sequencing it is now possible to determine complete methylomes for bacteria and this is leading to the discovery of many novel enzymes.

Talks are sought in, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Sequence, structure, function connection in proteins
  • Prediction of protein function
  • Evolution of function
  • Biocuration
  • Assessment of function prediction methods
  • Research related to the Critical Assessment of Function Annotation, or CAFA challenge

Programs from previous years

The Function-SIG meeting is funded, in part, by awards DBI-1458359 and DBI-1458477 from the US National Science Foundation.
In the past, the Function-SIG meetings were funded, in part, by R13 HG006079 and R13 HG007807 from the US National Institute of Health, as well as US Department of Energy grant DE-SC0006807TDD.