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Dear <<First Name>>

In this month’s newsletter, we profile EMBL alumnus, Dr Seán O’Donoghue, and learn about the research he has undertaken throughout his amazing career, and where it has lead him. We also report on the hive of activity at the SA Node of EMBL Australia. Ville-Petteri Mäkinen (Group Leader, SA node) hosted a Finnish delegation as well as hosting Prof Peter Meikle from Baker IDI.



The EMBL Australia PhD Symposium (EAPS 2016) was also held in Adelaide this month. I was very impressed by the high caliber of student presentations and posters.

I would like to personally thank the EAPS 2016 organising committee, and take this opportunity to thank Jane McCausland for her efforts as EMBL Australia Student Coordinator. Congratulations to all who contributed to making EAPS 2016 the most successful symposium yet, with discussions for 2017 already underway.

The 18th EMBL PhD Symposium: Life by Numbers: Towards Quantitative Biology was also held concurrently in Heidelberg with EAPS 2016 this month. We look forward to hearing from students who attended on their return. The symposium presented a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their networks, and discuss new collaborations.

This month saw another publication from EMBL Australia member Max Cryle (Otto Schmeil prize winner – July newsletter). Max’s work demonstrates that complex enzymatic cascades from glycopeptide antibiotic biosynthesis can be reconstituted in vitro, and provides new insights into the biosynthesis of these important antibiotics. Great job Max.

Marcus Heisler (featured in last month’s newsletter) also has a new scientific research paper published with one of his PhD students Neha Bhatia. Neha is the lead author of the paper – ‘Auxin acts through MONOPTEROS to regulate plant cell polarity and pattern phyllotaxis’. Research by the team has solved the important riddle in the quest to discover how plants create such amazing patterns, and produce organs at regular intervals. Biologists knew the answer involved cells in the growing plant coordinating with their neighbors to transport the plant hormone auxin to sites where it accumulates, creating an auxin hotspot, where a new leaf begins to grow. What was not known was how these hotspots form and are maintained. Marcus and his colleagues have unearthed the molecular feedback loop that creates leafy patterns. Excellent work.

There is also an opportunity to work with EMBL as a post-doc (detailed below), which we encourage you to share amongst your network.

This month we also reflect on the ABACBS conference in Brisbane, and the special lecture series presented by the University of Toronto’s Professor Jeffrey Rosenthal. We also invite you to consider training opportunities at EMBL – ABR.

Until next month, best regards,

James Whisstock

In this month's newsletter:

Profile: Dr Seán O’Donoghue (EMBL Alumni) – where is he now?

Dr Seán O’Donoghue is a biodata visualisation expert who spent his early research career in the Structural and Computational Biology program at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and at Lion Bioscience AG (EMBL’s first start-up company), both in Heidelberg, Germany.

Seán is currently Group Leader at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, and also jointly an OCE Science Leader in Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), working in the Data61 Team, University of Sydney.

Seán spent close to ten years working in Heidelberg, and credits his time at EMBL with some of the highlights of his research career. His first major research contributions were in developing methods to calculate atomic structures based on NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) data into 3D structures at EMBL Heidelberg. Seán explains that “the methods developed in this research are now used by researchers working on NMR structures, which have in turn contributed to many advances in life sciences.

Seán then moved to Lion Bioscience, which at the time was a global provider of bio- and cheminformatics software solutions that improved the discovery process in the life science industry. Their customers included Celera, where Lion’s software was used to examine the first draft assembly of the human genome.

While at Lion, Seán began asking new questions around his research directions, like, ‘how can the work I am doing have a big impact on the world? What are the rate limiting factors of discovery in the life sciences?

Read more about Seán, including how to get in touch, on the EMBL Australia website.

SA Node update

SA Node hosts Finnish delegation, Peter Meikle and goes to ABACBS

The SA node has had a busy month, with two high profile visitors and presentations from node members at the ABACBS conference. From the University of Oulu in Finland, SAHMRI hosted Professor Mika Ala-Korpela, Dr Mari Karsikas and Ms Qin Wang. The Baker IDI’s Professor Peter Meikle also visited during the inaugural academic event of the year at the Eden Hills Science Node. Node members Dr Song Gao and Dr Aaron Casey presented their work at the ABACBS conference, a veritable festival of bioinformatics in Brisbane hosted by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI).

Find out more about SA Node happenings for the month of November on the EMBL Australia website.

A Festival of Bioinformatics– report from Brisbane

Australia’s national bioinformatics conference was held in Brisbane at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) October 31 to November 2. Organised by the Australian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Society (ABACBS; pronounced abacus) and a hardworking local organising committee, this was held in conjunction with a series of fantastic events running from October 31 to November 10.

This year the conference was held in conjunction with QUT’s annual B3: Big Bioinformatics and Biology Symposium and the production was called the AB3ACBS Festival of Bioinformatics (still pronounced abacus).

The conference kicked off with the COMBINE Student Symposium. COMBINE is the student sub-committee of ABACBS. This comprised eight student talks and a panel discussion which was attended by ~ 80 people, mainly but not entirely students. The winner of the Best Talk Prize, Ramyar Molania (Univeristy of Melbourne) won a slot to talk in the main ABACBS conference.

Read the full report from Associate Professor Tony Papenfuss on the EMBL Australia website.

A message from the organisers: The organisers of ABACBS 2016 would like to publicly thank the many sponsors who helped make the event possible, including EMBL Australia for their continued generous support of the society. The ABACBS executive would also like to thank the wonderful organising committee for their hard work, and delegates who contributed to the conference’s great vibe.

Australia tour: Prof Jeffrey Rosenthal 

 

From the author of ‘Struck by Lightning: Curious World of Probability’, mathematician and comedian Professor Jeffrey Rosenthal is touring Australia with his new talk 'From Lotteries to Polls to Monte Carlo'.

Rosenthal is an improvisational comedian and the mastermind who cracked open Canada’s biggest Lottery scandal. He will talk about his work on Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms, as well as how to navigate the unexpected and improbable using statistical principles and logical thinking.

With an impressive CV, he is a Professor of the University of Toronto, and a lecturer at the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) and Statistical Society of Australia (SSA),

Tour dates in Australia are 28 November – 16 December 2016.

The whirlwind tour includes public and specialist lectures, as well as a plenary at the SSA Conference in December. Strengthening international and Australian mathematical and statistical ties, the events give audiences a rare opportunity to engage with a field leader.


Professor Rosenthal will present public lectures in Brisbane, Sydney, Wollongong, Adelaide and Melbourne. Click here for full tour details and to register.


EMBL - ABR training opportunities


Open Source and Software Development Best Practice, 8 December, 9:30am-12:30pm

Hosted at EMBL-ABR Hub and EMBL-ABR: VLSCI Node

This workshop will provide an interactive forum to discuss, review and gain an overview of Open Source and Software Development and will be based on content from the ELIXIR Software Development Best Practices group and aims to explore how to harmonise EMBL-ABR efforts in this area.

Find out more, and register via the EMBL-ABR website.

Registries in Bioinformatics: tools, datasets, standards, events & training, 9 December, 9:30am-5:30pm

An introduction to existing solutions and methods for accessing these registries, this workshop will be both a forum to assess the pros and cons of each, and work through them with hands-on sessions.

Hosted at EMBL-ABR Hub and EMBL-ABR: VLSCI Node

EMBL-ABR: AGRF Node

Vicky Schneider, Deputy Director, EMBL-ABR

Find out more, and register via the EMBL-ABR website.

EMBL Heidelberg Post-doctoral opportunity

Dr Wolfgang Huber (Genome Biology Unit) is seeking a postdoc to join his team at EMBL Heidelberg in Statistical Computing in Cancer Research and Personalised Medicine.

The group is seeking a postdoc researcher that is energetic and creative in the areas of biomedical data science and statistical computing applied to personalised medicine and systems genetics.
 

Applications close December 15, 2016

Please contact Wolfgang Huber for any questions and see the EMBL website for further details.
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