The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech will host Lincoln Stein, professor of bioinformatics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., as part of the institute’s First Annual Research Symposium on March 23 and 24.

Stein, whose pioneering work in the field of bioinformatics has spurred the development of several powerful computer-based methods for analyzing a wide variety of biological data, will serve as an invited guest and speaker on March 23 at 1 p.m. in VBI’s Conference Center. During his talk, Stein will discuss Reactome, an open source database of biological pathways developed through a joint collaboration between Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The European Bioinformatics Institute, and the Gene Ontology Consortium.

“As witnessed by the use of information made available through the success of the Human Genome Project, computers have become indispensable tools for scientists in making sense of biological events,” Dr. Stein said. “By using transdisciplinary research methods and the latest technologies, organizations like VBI are making great strides in helping us to better understand the processes that underpin life itself. It is a pleasure to be invited to take a close look at research at VBI and give the plenary lecture at the institute’s research symposium.”

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Stein to the Virginia Tech campus,” said Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Executive and Scientific Director Bruno Sobral. “The combination of information technology and biology forms the foundation of work at our institute. By sharing his extensive knowledge of biology, bioinformatics, programming, and software development, Dr. Stein will not only provide a timely update on making biological data available and navigable by the World Wide Web but he will also provide a unique perspective on work in progress at VBI.”

In addition to Dr. Stein’s lecture, the two-day research symposium will include a series of presentations from VBI researchers and poster presentations highlighting research projects at the institute. Oral presentations will be conducted in VBI’s Conference Center on Washington Street on Thursday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Friday, March 24. Poster sessions will be held in Owens Banquet Hall on March 24 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Lincoln Stein’s biography

After receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1989, Dr. Stein completed a residency in anatomic pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he served as a board-certified pathologist in women’s and perinatal pathology. During his residency, he became interested in the relationship between computers and biology and joined the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in 1991, eventually becoming the director of informatics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Genome Center. He joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1998, where his lab currently focuses on the development of databases, data analysis tools, and user interfaces to organize, manage, and visualize the vast amounts of data resulting from the genome information explosion.

About Reactome

Reactome is a curated, peer-reviewed resource of human biological process that is publicly available online under open-source terms. The Reactome data model allows for the representation of many diverse processes in the human system, including the pathways of intermediary metabolism, regulatory pathways, and signal transduction, and high-level processes, such as the cell cycle. Reactome provides a qualitative framework on which qualitative data can be superimposed. While the database is targeted at human pathways, it also includes many individual biochemical reactions from non-human systems, making it relevant to the large number of researchers working on model organisms.

Further information on the research symposium, including the schedule for the presentations, is available at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute website.