14th Annual biocuration conference (virtual)

The 14th annual biocuration conference was virtual in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hosted monthly virtual sessions with talks and workshops on a monthly basis which started on April 13, 2021. All sessions were open to all and free to attend. See below or read our FAQs for more information.


The recordings of past sessions are available here.


The abstracts are available here.

uPheno Workshop: 15 November 2021

9 – 12 PM PT /12 – 3 PM ET /5-8 PM BST (see time zone conversions here).

The uPheno group will host a third workshop on phenotype ontology development. More details to follow.

Details about the previous workshops are here.

Past sessions

Session 1: 13 April 2021

8 – 10 AM PT / 11 – 1 PM ET / 4 – 6 PM BST (see time zone conversions here)

Session 1 recording is available here.

Invited talks from Database Journal Virtual Issue

The ISB community was invited to submit papers to the 2020 Database Journal Virtual issue. A subset of papers were selected for talks at the 2020 conference in Bar Harbor, which was cancelled due to COVID. These speakers were invited to give talks at the inaugural virtual Biocuration 2021 session.


  1. Patrick Ruch – A neural network based pipeline to classify publications for UniProtKB protein entries“, HES-SO\HEG Geneva & SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics 
  2. Constance Smith – Addition of RNA Seq Data and New Search Utilities to the Mouse Gene Expression Database (GXD)“, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, USA
  3. Randi Vita – A structured model for immune exposures“, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, San Diego, CA, USA
  4. Federica Quaglia – APICURON: a database to credit and acknowledge the work of biocurators”, CNR-IBIOM, University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Panel: Future of Biocuration

Panel Members:

Carol Bult – The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, USA
James Malone – SciBite, Cambridge, UK 
Kambiz Karimi – Myriad Women’s Health, South San Francisco, CA, USA
Sandra Orchard – EBI, Cambridge, UK

Session Chair: Rama Balakrishnan- Genentech, USA

Session 2: June 15 2021

8 – 10 AM PT / 11 – 1 PM ET / 4 – 6 PM BST (see time zone conversions here)

Session 2 recording is available here.


  1. Jiyu Chen, Automatic Consistency Assurance for Literature-based Gene Ontology Annotation, University of Melbourne, Australia.
  2. Sushma Naithani, Biocuration training for undergraduate students: challenges and opportunities, Oregon State University, USA.
  3. Livia Perfetto, A Resource for the Network Representation of Cell Perturbations Caused by SARS-CoV-2 Infection, Fondazione Human Technopole, Italy.
  4. Sylvain Poux, Functional annotation of specific protein products in UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Switzerland.

Panel: Career paths and projections in Biocuration

Panel Members:
Pankaj Jaiswal, Oregon State University, Oregon, USA
Tanya Berardini, Phoenix Bioinformatics, Fremont, CA, USA
Nicola Mulder, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Session chair: Peter Uetz, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia, USA

Session 3: 17 August 2021

8 – 10 AM PT / 11 – 1 PM ET / 4 – 6 PM BST (see time zone conversions here).

Session 3 recording is available here.

Workshop on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Chair: Sushma Naithani – Associate Professor Senior Research & lead biocurator Plant Reactome, Oregon State University

Confirmed Panelists:
Laurie Goodman – GigaScience Journal, Editor-in-Chief
Yasmin Alam-Faruque – Senior Biocurator at Healx
Varsha Khodiyar – Data Curation Manager at Springer Nature

This workshop will be of great interest to those who were able to view the film Picture a Scientist (available on Netflix) as well as those with an interest in issues concerning EDI in the work environment.

Topics for discussion will include (but are not be limited to):
– the message captured in the movie
– better strategies to protect people from potential harassment and inequity in the workplace
– the role that professional societies, such as ISB, can play in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in our fields of study
– educating the community about manifestations of unconscious bias in our scientific fields

Invited Speaker talks:

Nicholas Miliaras – Identifying New Chemical and Genetic Terms for Inclusion in the MeSH Vocabulary, National Library of Medicine Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Paula Duek – neXtProt function prediction community pages, Swiss Intitute of Bioinformatics University of Geneva, Switzerland

Jasmin Young – wwPDB Biocuration: On the Front Line of Structural Biology, RCSB Protein Data Bank, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, NJ, USA.

Anna Tanska – DrugMechDB: a database of drug mechanisms, Integrated Structural and Computational Biology Scripps Research, La Jolla, CA.

Session 4: 05 October 2021

8 – 11 AM PT / 11 – 2 PM ET / 4 – 7 PM BST (see time zone conversions here). Please note that it is a 3-hour session and will be the final conference session of the 2021 Virtual Conference series. The agenda is below:

  • 8:00 – 8:15 am PT: Annual General Meeting, Nicole Vasilevsky, Chair
  • 8:15 – 9:00 am PT: Panel Discussion on Strategic Planning with former EC committee members:
    • Moni Munoz-Torres
    • Mike Cherry
    • Pascale Gaudet
    • Andrew Su
  • 9:00 am – 10:00 am PT: Biocuration Award talks
    • Amos Bairoch
    • Anne Niknejad
  • 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Poster session

Conference Planning Committee

Rama Balakrishnan, Genentech, USA (Chair)
Susan Bello, Jackson Labs, USA (Co-Chair)

Priya Arasu
Tatiparthi Balakrishna Reddy, JGI, USA
Madhu Bi
Marc Gillespie, Reactome, USA
Parul Gupta, Oregon State, USA
Robin Haw, Reactome, USA
Rabia Khan
Jane Lomax, SciBite, UK
Sandra Orchard, EBI, UK
Federica Quaglia, DisProt/PED @ UniPD, Italy
Saurabh Raghuvanshi, Genome India, India
Peter Uetz
Kimberly Van Auken, Cal Tech/Wormbase, USA
Nicole Vasilevsky, University of Colorado, USA

All speakers, panelists and attendees are expected to agree to the ISB Code of Conduct.