News / 9 November 2016
ABACBS logo 4

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).

ABACBS Combine Student Symposium

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.

The AB3ACBS-2016 National Conference was attended by 188 delegates.

There were seven invited speakers which included:

  • Kate Hertweck - bioinformatician and plant evolutionary biologist from the University of Texas at Tyler
  • Terry Attwood - leader in bioinformatics education and training
  • Ute Roessner - metabolomics specialist from the University of Melbourne
  • Simon Ho - computational evolutionary biologist from the University of Sydney
  • Andreas Schreiber - expert in bioinformatics and cancer genomics from the Centre for Cancer Biology, Adelaide
  • Nouri Ben Zakour - microbial bioinformatics specialist, from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research
  • Matt Ritchie - statistical bioinformatician and exponent of R/Bioconductor, from WEHI Melbourne.
ABACBS Oral Presentation

As well as the 29 oral presentations, there were many highlights at the poster session, and fast forward talks in QUT’s Cube. A special mention to Daniel Cameron’s amusing hard sell of his GRIDSS algorithm for genomic rearrangement detection (with free steak knives), which won the Best Student Talk Prize.

The ABACBS AGM and election of executive committee members was held on the second day. Details on the outcomes can be found on the ABACBS website.

Following the conference, a series of highly worthwhile workshops were held:

  • Best Practices in Bioinformatics Training (44 attendees)
  • Intro to Bioconductor (31 attendees)
  • Shiny Workshop (42 attendees)
  • Best Practices in Bioinformatics Training (44 attendees)
  • Introduction to mixOmics (33 attendees)
  • Bioconductor Asia-Pacific Meeting (27 attendees)
  • ABACBS/GOBLET RNA-seq data analysis (30 attendees).

To cap of this amazing festival, Annette McGrath (CSIRO) ran the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training (GOBLET) workshop (Nov 3-4) and Annual General Meeting (Nov 7-9).

Altogether 263 delegates attended one or more events – an amazing success!

A message from the organizers:  

The organizers 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.