q Monica Munoz-Torres – ISB (Biocuration)

Results of 2017 Elections of ISB Executive Committee

The results of the 2017 Elections of the
ISB Executive Committee are in!

Congratulations to 
Dr. Rama Balakrishnan, Dr. Nicole Vasilevsky,
and Dr. Sylvain Poux!


We express our sincere gratitude to all ISB members who participated in this year’s electoral process with your vote. One hundred and four out of 226 eligible ISB members voted in this year’s election; a breakdown of the votes we captured is attached.

Your votes have elected Rama and Nicole as new members, and re-elected Sylvain for a second term in the Executive Committee. Rama and Nicole will fill two open positions when the terms of Monica Munoz-Torres and Melissa Haendel come to completion on 31-October-2017.

Please join us in thanking Moni and Melissa for all their work over the past years! 

We would like to also express our sincere gratitude to the rest of the nominated candidates who considered volunteering their time as part of the ISB-EC this year:

Dr. Sirarat Sarntivijai, Dr. Taner Z Sen, and
Dr. Christopher Southan.

We are also very grateful with the following ISB members who volunteered their time for a successful execution of the 2017 EC election:

  • 2017 Nominating Committee: Pascale Gaudet, Stanley Laulederkind,  Raja Mazumder, Elvira Mitraka, and Randi Vita.
  • Elections Officer: Mary Ann Tuli
  • Membership Officer: Lorna Richardson

Thank you again for participating in the 2017 ISB Electoral Process!

Your Colleagues at the ISB Executive Committee. 

ISB is hiring a part-time Administrator

The Executive Committee of the International Society for Biocuration is recruiting a part-time administrator (20 hours / month) to assist with us with a few tasks of paramount importance to all our members.

We are looking for a highly organized, enthusiastic candidate with demonstrated ability to work well independently.

Details and requirements about this exciting opportunity are included below, and a flier is also available here. Please help us spread the word!

Your colleagues at the ISB Executive Committee

Position title: ISB Administrator

Position summary
This position will be responsible for managing and carrying out specific objectives of the International Society for Biocuration (ISB) . This position will report to the Executive Committee (EC) of the ISB.

  • Responsibilities
    – Coordinate communications with ISB members
    – Preparation of agenda and minutes of EC meetings
    – Project management associated with EC decisions and initiatives
    – Generating and soliciting web site content
  • Basic qualifications
    – Bachelor’s degree or 2 years experience in similar position
    – Ability to work independently
    – Highly organized
    – Reliable access to high speed internet for videoconferencing
  • Preferred qualifications
    – Experience in communications, project management and outreach for supporting scientific societies
    – Background in life sciences, bioinformatics, and/or data science
    – Experience with WordPress
  • Position details
    – Part-time: 20 hours / month
    – Pay: commensurate with experience
    – Location: Work remotely from anywhere

To apply for this position, please send your resume and cover letter, including the names of two professional references, to intsocbio@gmail.com with the subject line “ISB Administrator.” All applications received by 2017-10-27 will be given full consideration, and applications will be accepted until the position is filed.

DATABASE (OUP) offers discounts for active ISB members

Database, the Official Journal of the International Society for
offers discounted publishing rates for currently active ISB members.

International Society for Biocuration member rates of £640.00/$1,280.00/€960.00 for Database are now available in Author Services.

ISB members can validate their eligibility for these discounted
society member rates in the 
Article Charges page in ‘Author Services’ by inserting the email address associated with their active ISB membership into the box labeled as ‘membership number’.

Learn more about publishing in Database on the ‘Instructions to
‘ page.

Call for Biocuration Training Materials

Share your training materials with our community!

Have you taught a course or workshop on biocuration?
Have you trained new hires or students to be biocurators?
Do you have any educational materials related to biocuration?

The ISB is now collecting biocuration training materials.  See the growing list of teaching resources  here.

To share your materials, you may use this form or contact us at  intsocbio@gmail.com.  In your email include the title, list of authors, a description about the subject discussed on your resources, the URL where they can be found, the type of license for distribution, and the type of material you wish to distribute.

Educational materials

Announcing 2017 ISB Travel Fellowships Awardees

Congratulations are in order!

Please join us as we extend our best wishes to the winners of the 2017 ISB Travel Fellowships to attend the
10th International Biocuration Conference being held in
Palo Alto, California, USA on March 26-29.

This year’s ISB Travel Fellowships were awarded to:

Pratibha Gour
Laura M. Jackson
Xiangying Jiang
Jake Lever
Sushma Naithani
Cecile Pereira
Nicole Marie Ruiz-Schultz
David Alberto Velázquez Ramírez
Naihui (Ashley) Zhou
Qinghua Wang

2017 Travel Fellows
2017 ISB Travel Fellows & ISB Executive Committee


Our sincere thanks to the 2017 ISB Travel Fellowships Committee:
Cecilia Airghi, Suzanna Lewis, and Edith Wong.

Biocuration 2017 Travel Fellowships

The International Society for Biocuration and the
10th International Biocuration Conference invite current ISB members to apply for Travel Fellowships to attend this year’s conference in Stanford, CA.


We are pleased to provide current ISB members with a travel fellowship opportunity. We intend to support up to ten (10) applicants. Students, junior curators, curators from low-income countries, and curators from countries suffering from natural disasters are encouraged to apply. Selections will be prioritized by financial need.

Please note that applying for a fellowship does not guarantee that you will receive funding.


Each award will be issued as reimbursement for up to CHF $1,500 per fellowship depending on the costs of registration and travel (e.g. hotel, flight, and ground transportation).

  • ISB Travel Fellows must be able to cover their own conference registration fees and travel cost before attending the conference. ISB Travel Fellows will then submit receipts to request a reimbursement from ISB.
  • A traveller’s check, or a bank transfer for up to CHF $1,500 – depending on your registration and travel costs – will be arranged for ISB Travel Fellows.
  • The Biocuration Travel Fellowships Committee will advise you on how to receive these funds as reimbursement at the end of the conference.

Requirements and Procedures

Each applicant for a travel fellowship must satisfy the following conditions:

  • The applicant must be an active ISB member.
  • The applicant must have been selected for a poster or oral presentation at the Tenth International Biocuration Conference.
    Only the presenting author from a multi-author abstract may apply for a fellowship.
  • The applicant must submit an accompanying letter explaining why s/he is requesting travel funds and how s/he envisions that attending the Biocuration Conference will benefit her/his career.
  • Application Deadline: application materials should be sent to ISB via email to intsocbio@gmail.com with the subject line ‘Travel Fellowships to Biocuration 2017’ on or before 22 February, 2017. Deadline extended to 27 February!

Notification of award will be sent via email by 03 March, 2017 and announced on the ISB website after acceptance of the award.

Applicants should review visa requirements and make all necessary arrangements on their own. The conference can provide an invitation letter for registered participants. Please contact
biocuration2017@lists.stanford.edu to request a letter of invitation.

Your colleagues at the ISB Executive Committee.

Announcing the recipients of the 2017 Biocuration Awards

It is our great pleasure to announce the
recipients of the 2017 Biocuration Awards:

Dr. Marc Feuermann

Biocuration Career Award 

Dr. Marc Feuermann

SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.
Marc has been involved in a number of biocuration initiatives over the years, such as the sequence and curation of S.cerevisiae genome, the PAINT project for GO, and UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot.

Dr. Chris Mungall

Exceptional Contributions to Biocuration Award 

Dr. Chris Mungall

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Chris has dedicated his professional career to assisting the capture, computational integration and operation, and dissemination of data. He plays a leading role in the development and integration of key biological ontologies and databases covering gene function, anatomy, phenotypes and the environment. His work is impactful on science and society at large, and is used by many people spanning a broad spectrum from clinical to basic research, bridging across diverse disciplines such as genomics, systems biology, paleontology, and environmental health.

Our most sincere congratulations to Marc and Chris!


Best regards,

Your colleagues at the ISB Executive Committee, and
the 2017 Biocuration Awards Committee

The 2017 Biocuration Awards Committee are:
Sylvain Poux – Chair
Rose Oughtred
Mary Ann Tuly
Helen Parkinson
Marc Robinson-Rechavi
Yvonne Bradford
Robin Haw

Announcing the 2016 – 2017 Composition of the ISB Executive Committee

The election of the 2016 – 2017 ISB Executive Committee (EC) took place last November. Please join us again in giving a warm welcome to Peter McQuilton and Andrew Su to the Executive Committee. Many of you know them already, but for those that do not, we encourage you to take a look at their bios.

Dr. Monica Munoz-Torres, Chair 2016/17

Monica Munoz-Torres has been elected as the new Chair of ISB, Melissa Haendel is the new Secretary, and Sandra Orchard continues serving as Treasurer for the 2016-2017 period. The official handover date for the new EC took place last November. The Executive Committee is also composed by Cecilia Arighi, Suzanna Lewis, Sylvain Poux, and Zhang Zhang. As always, please reach out to any of us on the ISB EC as your representatives.

After six years of service to the Biocuration community as members of the ISB Executive Committee, we bid farewell to Mike Cherry and Claire O’Donovan. We are thankful for their contributions to the improvement of the International Society for Biocuration over the course of this time.

We again would like to thank all the candidates for their time and effort in running for election, and of course, all the ISB members who voted. Your participation in the society’s activities is greatly appreciated. We would like to also thank this year’s volunteer Nominating Committee, which oversaw the electoral process: Kimberly Van Auken, Frederic Bastian, Doug Howe, Ruth Lovering, and Jingchu Luo.

Best wishes for a happy holiday and new year from all of us at ISB.

Your colleagues at the Executive Committee of the International Society for Biocuration.

2017 Biocuration Awards – Call for Nominations

The International Society for Biocuration
announces the
2017 Biocuration Awards 

ISB is happy to announce that in 2017 we plan to give two different awards to people who have made a significant impact in the field of biocuration. We welcome your nominations!


1) Award for Exceptional Contributions to Biocuration
ISB’s Exceptional Contributions Award recognizes a person who is a leader or a pioneer in the field of biocuration, and whose work has been fundamental to the advancement of biocuration. 

2) Biocuration Career Award
The Biocuration Career Award recognizes biocurators in non-leadership positions who have made sustained contributions to the field of biocuration. Those who hold Principal Investigator or Group Leader positions are not eligible for the Biocuration Career Award.

Each award recipient will be invited to present a talk at the
2017 International Biocuration Conference,
with all expenses paid by ISB.

Nomination process: 

Nominations will be reviewed by the 2017 ISB Awards Committee, comprised of one member of the ISB’s Executive Committee (ISB-EC) and six (6) additional members from the wider research community; these members were nominated by the ISB-EC based on diversity in area of expertise, organization type, role, and geographic location. 

Who can nominate and/or be nominated? 
  • Any currently active ISB member may nominate anyone in the field of biocuration, whether the potential nominee is a member of ISB or not. 
  • Members of the ISB can make no more than 1 nomination per award. 
  • Current members of the Executive Committee or the ISB Award Committee are not eligible for the awards.
  • Self-nominations will not be considered. 
How to submit a nomination:
  • Nominations should be sent via email to the awards committee at intsocbio@gmail.com with the subject line “Biocuration Awards Nominations”.
  • The nomination email should contain all the following fields:
    Nominator details: name, e-mail and affiliation, member of ISB
    Nominee details: name, e-mail and affiliation
    Type of award nomination: either Exceptional Contributions to Biocuration or Biocuration Career Award
    Short list of scholarly contributions: a maximum of 50 words
    Brief description of why you are recommending this person: a maximum of 350 words
Deadline for submitting nominations:  Friday 6-January-2017

The 2017 Biocuration Awards Committee are:
Sylvain Poux (Chair)
Rose Oughtred
Mary Ann Tuly
Helen Parkinson
Marc Robinson-Rechavi
Yvonne Bradford
Robin Haw

ICBO-BioCreative 2016 Micro-Grant Report

Micro-grant awarded to: Dr. Pankaj Jaiswal
Affiliation: Oregon State University
Website: http://icbo.cgrb.oregonstate.edu

Dr. Jaiswal (ICBO 2016 Conference Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in the College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) at Oregon State University), hosted the 2016 joint meeting of the BioCreative and the 7th International Conference on Biological Ontologies (a special focus event in the annual ICBO series).  The theme of the joint meeting was Food, Nutrition, Health and Environment for the 9 billion. The Program Chairs, Dr. Robert Hoendorf from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia and Dr. Cecilia Arighi from the University of Delaware, United States, together with program committee members did an excellent job of putting together the conference agenda.

Biology, bioinformatics, and biomedical research have seen a deluge of data in recent times from digital record keeping, samples, methods, observations, imaging, sensors, genotyping, phylogenomics, phenotyping and -omics studies.  While the generation of Big-Data is already successfully driving scientific research, providing the needed metadata (data annotating the BIG-data) is still a major challenge in the life sciences areas. For example, life scientists in all spheres are mining BIG-data either to make novel discoveries or to confirm existing results. However, our ability to draw the inferences needed for discovery depends on the quality of the reference and sample annotations (metadata descriptions) of data derived from assays of genotypes, molecular functions, phenotypes, pathotypes, environments, and treatments. Ontologies, a refined set of well-defined and structured controlled vocabularies, provide consistency and quality in metadata annotation. As the role of ontologies expands, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and data mining methods are being used increasingly for information extraction into the more structured and meaningful forms allowed by ontologies.

More than 160 participants (35% women) from 14 countries and ~90 cities attended this international conference, which provided a platform for fostering discussion, exchange, and innovation in research and development in the areas of biomedical ontology (including plants, agriculture, environment, and biomes, as well as human health and disease). Researchers and professionals from all spheres of biology, medicine, ecology, computer science, mathematics, text-mining, BIG-data analytics and related fields were invited to share their knowledge and experience.

At the meeting, more than 90 plenary talks and 11 software demonstrations were presented in 10 plenary sessions and 14 workshops. There were also 4 keynote talks, 2 invited talks and 39 poster presentations.  With generous support from our sponsors, including the International Society for Biocuration, we offered free registration to 35 individuals representing students, postdocs, minorities in the sciences, and early career researchers. The 2016 ICBO-BioCreative Conference Proceedings were published online and are freely accessible.

The conference concluded with a vote of thanks and the announcement for ICBO 2017 to be held at Newcastle University, UK.