I learned from Lorena Pantano about the BioGenIn site, a meeting point for bioinformatics students at several levels. Great initiative, worth taking into account if you are a student in the field in Spain. But I better leave the description to them:
We are a national group working to organize Bioinformatics students in Spain with an aim to foster collaborations between students and also create an active network for spreading information about
developments and opportunities in Bioinformatics
We consist of two groups:
Regional student group – Spain, a satellite group of the ISCB-Student Council
EBIN, national society of bioinformatics students (registered under the Spanish ministry)
Can you become a member? Yes if you are:
And here is the flier you may feel free to distribute: BioGenIn
A central training activity in WP4 of the VPH NoE is the organization of a series of study groups (SGs) to disseminate the philosophy, the theory and the practical implementations beyond the VPH initiative. After a first SG in Nottingham in July 2009, Barcelona hosted the second of such events in the outstanding premises of the Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (PRBB), a centre that includes several institutions devoted to different aspects of biomedical research, including researchers in two of the general members of the VPH NoE: UPF and IMIM-Hospital del Mar. The SG consisted of five days of highly interactive activities. During the first day, the format of a workshop was used to introduce the participants to the main theme of the SG: multiscale simulations in biomedicine. The approach taken this year was to deal with a generic theme, as it paved the way to discuss basic and applied aspects of the research design from different perspectives: concept of a (multiscale) model, mathematical foundation, physical principles, computational details and, finally, problem-based analysis. To exemplify the meaning of the multiscale approach, three use cases were proposed in the areas of 1) mechanobiology and biomechanics of aneurism evolution, 2) lung mechanics, and 3) drug induced ion-channel blocking in cardiomiocytes and its effect in arrhytmogenesis. The workshop included presentations by Peter Kohl (U Oxford), Kevin Burrage (U Oxford and U Queensland), Alfons Hoekstra (U Amsterdam), Gustavo Deco (UPF), Paul Watton (U Oxford), Blanca Rodríguez (U Oxford) and Bertran Maury (U Paris Sud). After this first day, the participants were distributed in several work groups to discuss possible pipelines for the multiscale description of the suggested questions. For three days, the work groups divided their time between internal discussions and attendance to tutorials on several VPH toolkit related topics. These included tutorials on distributed computing in Europe by Stefan Zasada (UCL), standards for model sharing in systems biology by Jonathan Cooper (U Oxford), an introduction to the VPH toolkit by Keith McCormack (U Sheffield) and Yves Martelli (UPF), and the use of the online research network Activ8 by James Dalton and Albert Mascarell (UPF and O2HLink, inc.). On the last day of the SG, each group gave a short presentation of their conclusions in an informal workshop, sharing the final conclusion that the objective of the SG was achieved: coming back home with more open questions and exciting ideas than clear answers.
The workshop was a success in realizing that good research is often based on simple ideas and hypothesis, even though we often work on complex experimental designs. Clearly, ingenuity and curiosity are pre-requisites for creativity. Computer simulations and, in particular, the work of researchers in the VPH community (understood in a sense that outsources the VPH NoE or the VPH initiative themselves), can not only support other research fields in achieving their goals but also, and this is our central motivation, they can generate scientific results as any other technique may do.