Monday, May 21, 2012

IMIM: INBIOMEDvision Training Challenge 2012

European scientists complement their studies with INBIOMEDvision Training Challenge

After one week of intensive training, the closing event of the INBIOMEDvision Training Challenge successfully took place in Barcelona.

This innovative training initiative, organized within the framework of the European Commission funded INBIOMEDvision project and the University Pompeu Fabra (UPF), was rated as very positive by both the organizers and the participants.

This training gathered together two teams of 5 PhD students with different nationalities and scientific backgrounds (chemists, medical doctors, informatics, mathematics, biologists etc.) to work on two case studies related with health sciences during one week at the Monastery of Les Avellanes (Lleida, Spain).

One of the members of the jury, Prof. Ferran Sanz, director of the Research Progamme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) a joint research group of IMIM (Hospital del Mar Research Institute) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), and scientific coordinator of INBIOMEDvision Project, described the INBIOMEDvision Training Challenge as “an excellent example to demonstrate the importance of the multidisciplinary in the scientific work”.

Apart from Prof Sanz, the jury was formed by Prof. Peter Coveney from University College London, Prof. Johan van der Lei from Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam, and Dr. Barend Mons from the Leiden University Medical Centre.

The Jury was assigned to evaluate the work of the two teams, and the team working on psoriasis was awarded as winner of this edition. Nevertheless, working in interdisciplinary team is not an easy task, and the other team faced problems with their case study on Parkinson’s disease and had to change the focus of their study. Although not member of the winning team, the personal contribution of the work of Micha Kunze was recognized with a special prize. All participants were given a certificate of assistance on behalf of INBIOMEDvision and the University Pompeu Fabra.

This year the Training Challenge took place in the Monastery of Les Avellanes, in the village Os de Balaguer (Lleida). This monastery from the SXII is able to combine history, technology, silence and comfort, making it an ideal place for intensive collaborative scientific work.

The advances in the fields of Biomedical Informatics are increasingly based on interdisciplinary research ventures. Initiatives such as INBIOMEDvision aim at promoting further merge between the bioinformatics and medical informatics fields. One of the objectives of organizing the training challenge was to demonstrate to young professionals the importance of synergy between the fields for translation of research results into clinical practice.

Altogether 30 students have participated in the Training Challenge over the past years. The first edition of the Training Challenge, organized by the INFOBIOMED Network of Excellence, was awarded the best idea of the year 2005 by the Diario Médico (Spain). Consequently two more editions were organized in 2005 and 2006. The fourth Training Challenge in 2012 has given 10 more students an introduction to this wonderful experience of the growing field of Biomedical Informatics.

Case study 1: (winning team)

Towards Predicting Cytokine-Specific Molecular Signatures and Unravelling Psoriasis Mechanisms Members:

  • Christopher Banerji, Physics and mathematics, UK
  • Chrysanthi Ainali, Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, UK
  • Gina Ayala, Chemistry, Medical Informatics, Statistics, NL
  • Marina Panarina, Medicine, Estonia
  • Morgan Germain Biomedical engineering, Belgium

Case study 2:

Combining Genomic and Protein Topology data to predict SNP clinical outcome Members:

  • Esther Ng, Medicine/statistics, UK
  • Eva Macharia, Medicine, UK
  • Francisco Mandueño, Computer Science, ES
  • Micha Kunze Structural, Computational, Chemical Biology, UK (special prize)
  • Liberty Foreman Structural, Computational, Chemical Biology, UK