Pavel Pevzner, UC San Diego
Ron Shamir, Tel Aviv University

Organizing Committee

Sangtae Kim, UC San Diego
Son Pham, UC San Diego

Second RECOMB Satellite Conference on Bioinformatics Education

May 22-23, 2010
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California

Overview The Second RECOMB satellite conference on Bioinformatics Education (RECOMB-BE) will be held at the Center for Algorithmic and Systems Biology at the University of California, San Diego, May 22-23, 2010. The conference will follow the 1st RECOMB-BE meeting in March 2009 attended by 140 participants. The program as well as videos of all lectures and discussion panels for that meeting are available at
The meeting will consist of invited presentations, oral presentations selected from submitted abstracts and papers, a poster session, and discussion panels.

Theme and Scope The goal of the meeting is to showcase best practices of teaching bioinformatics ideas to biology undergraduates, to discuss existing challenges in bioinformatics education (with an emphasis on undergraduate education), and to promote collaborations between educators towards developing a stable bioinformatics curriculum reflecting the 21st century bioinformatics. The meeting will also showcase selected bioinformatics research projects conducted by undergraduate students.

While biology has been transformed into a computational science in the last decade, the biology curriculum remains largely unchanged with respect to computational courses. The question: "How to teach bioinformatics to biology students?" is particularly important at the time when many universities have already started undergraduate bioinformatics programs and discussions are underway about adding new computational courses to the standard biology curriculum - a dramatic paradigm shift in biology education. However, as the 1st RECOMB BE satellite demonstrated, the educational question of how to convey computational ideas to biologists has not been answered satisfactorily to date. See Computing has changed biology--biology education must catch up. for the summary of RECOMB BE 2009 and the educational challenges that lay ahead (Science 2009, v.325: 541-542)

It is a problem when bioinformatics courses cater to a protocol-centric pragmatic approach without revealing the computational ideas. Imagine a calculus course teaching physicists and engineers how to compute integrals without attempting to explain what an integral is. It is important to communicate the pitfalls of the recipe-based approaches to bioinformatics. RECOMB-BE aims at demonstrating the intricacy, practicality, and beauty of modern bioinformatics at the undergraduate level.

Confirmed Invited Speakers (partial list)

Dan Gusfield, UC Davis Russell Schwartz, Carnegie Mellon University
David Haussler, UC Santa Cruz Adam Siepel, Cornell University
Eugene Koonin, National Center for Biotechnology Information Ron Shamir, Tel Aviv University
Michael Lynch, University of Indiana Glenn Tesler, UC San Diego
Lior Pachter, UC Berkeley Olga Troyanskaya, Princeton
Yitzhak (Tzachi) Pilpel, Weizmann Institute of Science Tandy Warnow, UT Austin
Aviv Regev, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard  
Pavel Pevzner, UC San Diego  

RECOMB-BE format RECOMB-BE will have a somewhat unusual format. Unlike most previous meetings on bioinformatics education that focused on the question "how bioinformatics should be taught", we want to showcase how leading bioinformaticians ACTUALLY TEACH. Speakers will give short, introductory-level lectures, aimed at undergraduates, which will be videotaped and made freely available on the Internet. These lectures will be complemented by Discussion Panels focusing on existing challenges in bioinformatics education and by talks of undergraduate students on their research projects.


We invite submissions in three categories:

  • Bioinformatics Education Papers
  • Bioinformatics Education Abstracts (submitted by educators)
  • Undergraduate Bioinformatics Research (submitted by undergraduate or first-year graduate students)

The selected papers and abstracts in each category will be invited either for oral or for poster presentations. Note that the acceptance of poster abstract is conditional on at least one of its authors pre-registering for the RECOMB-BE workshop electronically.

Bioinformatics Education papers should be submitted via the RECOMB BE web site and must be received by January 5, 2010.The papers should focus on a biological problem and on didactic ways to convey computational ideas that can be used to address it. The papers should be self-contained and should be written in the way that it can be understood by advanced undergraduate biology students. Papers focusing solely on computational problems and papers focusing solely on biological problems will not be considered. RECOMB BE imposes no restrictions on format, length, notation, etc. but rather let the contributors choose the style they feel is the most appropriate. However, we anticipate that each contributed paper will be at least 10 pages long.

The papers will be reviewed and the accepted papers will be published in the special Education issue of the Journal of Computational Biology

The authors of the accepted papers will be invited to join the Bioinformatics Education Alliance that will meet in San Diego shortly before RECOMB BE with the goal to discuss the planned book “Bioinformatics for Biologists” based on the accepted papers.

Bioinformatics Education abstracts (submitted by educators) must be received by January 20, 2009. The abstracts are at most 1 page long. The abstracts in this category can either discuss practice, challenges, and perspectives in bioinformatics education (e.g., curricula, integration of bioinformatics programs, online courses, etc.) or represent a proposal for a short 20-30 min introductory lecture aimed at undergraduates. We are specifically looking for lectures that start with a description of an interesting biological problem, e.g., "Did we evolve from Neanderthals?" and show how computational techniques solve this biological problem. The selected papers and abstracts will be invited either for oral or for poster presentations.

Undergraduate Bioinformatics Research abstracts (submitted by undergraduates or 1st year graduate students reporting their undergraduate work) must be received by January 20, 2009. The selected papers and abstracts will be invited either for oral or for poster presentations.

Important Dates:

Early Registration: May 1, 2010

Late-breaking abstract submission deadline: May 1, 2010

Notification of late-breaking abstract acceptance: May 8, 2010.

Notification of travel support: Apr 21, 2010

Paper submission deadline: January 5, 2010

Notification of paper acceptance: January 20, 2010

Abstract submission deadline: January 20, 2010

Notification of abstract acceptance: January 30, 2010

Application for travel support: February 21, 2010


About CASB

The Center for Algorithmic and Systems Biology (CASB) is dedicated to the study of computational approaches in biological sciences. It serves as a worldwide bioinformatics conference center and forum for researchers in algorithmic and systems biology. CASB also aims to promote interactions among different departments at the University of California, San Diego; among different institutions in the San Diego region; and between academia and industry. The center also supports original research and educational activities in bioinformatics.


The RECOMB International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology conference series was founded in 1997 to provide a scientific forum for theoretical advances in computational biology and their applications in molecular biology and medicine. The conference solicits research contributions from all areas of computational molecular biology. The origins of the conference came from the mathematical and computational side of the field, and there remains a focus on computational advances. In addition, the effective use of computational techniques in biological discovery is also an important aspect of the conference. The 14 Annual RECOMB conference (RECOMB 20010) will take place April 25-28, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. RECOMB Bioinformatics Education satellite extend the series of RECOMB satellites covering various aspects of bioinformatics: RECOMB Comparative Genomics, RECOMB Regulatory Genomics, RECOMB Computational Cancer Biology, RECOMB Computational Proteomics, RECOMB SNPs and Haplotypes and RECOMB Systems Biology.