The Advanced Career Award recognizes biocurators who have been involved in a biocuration-relevant field for 7 years or more. The nominees will have made sustained contributions to the field of biocuration. The recipient will be required to present a 15 minute talk at a virtual Biocuration seminar and will be sent a prize of 500 CHF. The nominee does not have to be an active ISB member, as the award will include ISB membership for 1 year.

Voting will be open from 27 June – 25 July 2024


The list of nominees is below. Scroll down for detailed descriptions.

  • Peter D’Eustachio, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, USA
  • Steven Marygold, FlyBase, Cambridge, UK
  • Sushma Naithani, Plant Reactome Knowledgebase, Oregon, USA
  • Achchuthan Shanmugasundram, Genomics England Limited, London, UK
  • Peter Uetz, Center for Biological Data Science, Virginia, USA

Detailed Descriptions

Peter D’Eustachio, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, USA

Peter has been involved with the Reactome Knowledgebase since 2002, developing standards and procedures for curation of pathway events and tight integration of Reactome annotation with material from community resources such as the Gene Ontology, ChEBI, UniProt, and Rhea, and more recently the Alliance of Genome Resources to support efficient annotation of biologically complex processes in formats that are widely accessible and interoperable. This interoperability extends to the use of Reactome annotations of human processes as starting points for efficiently annotating model organism versions of these processes in formats that themselves support easy and reliable data re-use. Peter’s direct contributions have centered on the development of Reactome curation standards, development of tools to align Reactome annotations with corresponding instances in resources such as Rhea, and the development of a strategy to export Reactome content into the GO-CAM format that is rapidly becoming a bioinformatics community standard. Peter’s knowledge of a wide range of biological processes and his understanding of the underlying biochemistry enables him to clearly explain the most logical solutions to many challenging problems. Many gold standard biological knowledgebases have benefited from his insightful and considered suggestions.


  • D’Eustachio P. (2013) Pathway databases: making chemical and biological sense of the genomic data flood. Chem Biol. 20:629-635. PMID:23706629
  • Hill DP, D’Eustachio P, Berardini TZ, Mungall CJ, Renedo N, Blake JA (2016) Modeling biochemical pathways in the gene ontology. Database baw126. PMID:27589964
  • Good BM, Van Auken K, Hill DP, Mi H, Carbon S, Balhoff JP, Albou LP, Thomas PD, Mungall CJ, Blake JA, D’Eustachio P. (2021) Reactome and the Gene Ontology: Digital convergence of data resources. Bioinformatics. 37:3343–3348. PMID:33964129
  • Gillespie M, Jassal B, Stephan R, Milacic M, Rothfels K, Senff-Ribeiro A, Griss J, Sevilla C, Matthews L, Gong C, Deng C, Varusai T, Ragueneau E, Haider Y, May B, Shamovsky V, Weiser J, Brunson T, Sanati N, Beckman L, Shao X, Fabregat A, Sidiropoulos K, Murillo J, Viteri G, Cook J, Shorser S, Bader G, Demir E, Sander C, Haw R, Wu G, Stein L, Hermjakob H, D’Eustachio P (2022) The Reactome Pathway Knowledgebase 2022. Nucleic Acids Res. 50:D687-D692. PMID:34788843

Steven Marygold, FlyBase, Cambridge, UK

Steven is a curator, nomenclature advisor and the group coordinator at FlyBase (Cambridge UK) with a special interest in enzymes, metabolism, ncRNAs and gene groups. Steven’s team established the gene group resource https://academic.oup.com/nar/article/44/D1/D786/2502590 and has worked systematically to improve the annotation of many classes of genes at FlyBase including most recently tRNAs, snoRNAs, and reviewing all ~3700 enzyme-encoding genes. He collaborates widely with many other data resources including the Alliance of Genome Resources member databases, UniProt, Rhea, Reactome, RNACentral and members of the fly community. Steven is also a major contributor to the Gene Ontology Consortium, and his work here is improving the representation of enzymes and metabolism across species in in both the ontology and annotation.

  • Publications
    • The UDP-Glycosyltransferase Family in Drosophila melanogaster: Nomenclature Update, Gene Expression and Phylogenetic Analysis Ahn, S.-J., Marygold, S.J. Frontiers in Physiology, 2021, 12, 648481 PMID: 33815151
    • The DNA polymerases of Drosophila melanogaster Marygold, S.J., Attrill, H., Speretta, E., …Rong, Y., Yamaguchi, M. Fly, 2020, 14(1-4), pp. 49–61 PMID: 31933406
    • Towards comprehensive annotation of Drosophila melanogaster enzymes in FlyBase Garapati, P.V., Zhang, J., Rey, A.J., Marygold, S.J. Database, 2019, 2019 PMID: 30689844
    • Using FlyBase to find functionally related drosophila genes Rey, A.J., Attrill, H., Marygold, S.J. Methods in Molecular Biology, 2018, 1757, pp. 493–512 PMID: 29761468
    • The translation factors of Drosophila melanogaster Marygold, S.J., Attrill, H., Lasko, P. Fly, 2017, 11(1), pp. 65–74 PMID: 27494710

Sushma Naithani, Plant Reactome Knowledgebase, Oregon, USA

Dr. Sushma Naithani is an Associate Professor Senior Research at Oregon State University. Naithani is the Lead biocurator of the Plant Reactome knowledgebase ((https://plantreactome.gramene.org), a pathway portal of the Gramene database. Since 2012, she has led the biocuration of plant pathways and served as outreach and training coordinator for database users. In addition, Naithani has led the development and biocuration of species-specific metabolic network for strawberry (FragariaCyc) and grapevine (VitisCyc) and contributed to the biocuration of maize-specific metabolic network MaizeCyc— all Cyc databases are available at http://pathways.cgrb.oregonstate.edu/metabolic.html. Naithani has trained 20 undergraduate students at Oregon State University on gene and pathway biocuration; conducted two in-person community curation workshops; and two online biocuration training workshops for the graduate students. Naithani also made significant contribution to Gene Ontology, and Grapevine Information system. From 2022-present, Naithani also serves as the Steering Committee Member for the AgBiodata consortium (https://www.agbiodata.org), a consortium of agricultural biological databases and associated resources. Naithani co-organized the ‘Ontologies and Systems Biology workshop’ at the annual Plant and Animal Genome conference (2014-2024). Naithani’s involvement in promoting equity and diversity within the scientific community is evident through her service on the ISB Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee from 2021 to 2022. Notably, she chaired the ‘Addressing Implicit or Unconscious Bias Workshop’ at the 14th Annual Biocuration Conference in 2021. In subsequent years, she co-chaired the 15th Annual Biocuration Conference in 2022 (virtual) and served on the Scientific Committee for the 17th Annual Biocuration Conference held in India in 2023.

  • Publications
    • Gupta P., J. Elser, E. Hooks, P. D’Eustachio, P. Jaiswal and S. Naithani (2024). Plant Reactome Knowledgebase: empowering plant pathway exploration and OMICS data analysis. Nucleic Acids Res., 52 (D1): D1538-D1547. doi:10.1093/nar/gkad1052. PMID: 37986220
    • Gene Ontology Consortium (2023). The Gene Ontology Knowledgebase in 2023. Genetics, doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyad031 PMID: 36866529
    • Tello-Ruiz M.K., S. Naithani, P. Gupta, A. Olson, S. Wei, J. Preece, Y. Jiao, B. Wang, K. Chougule, P. Garg, J. Elser, S. Kumari, V. Kumar, B. Contreras-Moreira, G. Naamati, N. George, J. Cook, D. Bolser, P. D’Eustachio, L.D. Stein, A. Gupta, W. Xu, J. Regala, I. Papatheodorou, P.J Kersey, P. Flicek, C. Taylor, P. Jaiswal, and D. Ware (2021). Gramene 2021: harnessing the power of comparative genomics and pathways for plant research. Nucleic Acids Res. 49 (D1): D1452-D1463. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa979 PMID: 33170273
    • Harper L., J. Campbell, E.K.S. Cannon, S. Jung, M. Poelchau, R. Walls, C. Andorf, E. Arnaud, T. Berardini, C. Birkett, S. Cannon, J. Carson, B. Condon, L. Cooper, N. Dunn, C. G. Elsik, A. Farmer, S.P. Ficklin, D. Grant, E. Grau, N. Herndon, Z.-L. Hu, J. Humann, P. Jaiswal, C. Jonquet, M.-A. Laporte, P. Larmande, G. Lazo, F. McCarthy, N. Menda, C. Mungall, M. Munoz-Torres, S. Naithani, et al. (2018). AgBioData consortium recommendations for sustainable genomics and genetics databases for agriculture. Database, 2018:1-32, doi: 10.1093/database/bay088 PMID: 30239679
    • Naithani S., R. Raja, E.N. Waddell, J. Elser, S. Gouthu, L.G. Deluc and P. Jaiswal (2014). VitisCyc, a metabolic pathways knowledgebase for grapevine (Vitis vinifera). Frontiers in Plant Science, 5: 1, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00644. PMID: 25538713

Achchuthan Shanmugasundram, Genomics England Limited, London, UK

Achchuthan began his biocuration journey as a PhD student at the University of Liverpool, where he manually curated metabolic pathways for Apicomplexan parasites and developed a web database. Following a brief postdoctoral period focusing on genome annotation and curation, he returned to Liverpool as a biocurator, working on the genomes of neglected tropical parasites and fungal pathogens in the non-model organism database VEuPathDB. During this time, he played a pivotal role in developing VEuPathDB’s framework for phenotypic curation of fungal pathogens by leveraging existing OBO Foundry ontologies.

A strong proponent for data standardisation and sharing, Achchuthan often worked as the sole biocurator at VEuPathDB. He actively collaborated with other resources to better represent the taxon-specific biology of neglected species in ontologies such as Gene Ontology (GO). His contributions included submitting VEuPathDB’s annotations to GO and coordinating the integration of curated data from other resources into VEuPathDB.

Achchuthan contributed to outreach efforts, educating users on the importance of curated datasets, working on standardisation and integration of user curated datasets, and developing SOPs and frameworks for community curation of gene functions and phenotypic datasets in VEuPathDB. He also embedded curation and ontologies into his genomics teaching at Liverpool.

Achchuthan is currently working with Genomics England’s PanelApp, curating gene-disease associations within gene panels. His focus has always been on the complete data cycle, ensuring appropriate representation of curated data by contributing to the development and testing of new features. Despite transitioning through various roles, curation has remained at the heart of his career.

  • Publications
    • Shanmugasundram, A. Increasing gene coverage for developmental disorders in PanelApp using the Gene2Phenotype database. Genomics England bioinformatics blog series. 2 May 2024; https://www.genomicsengland.co.uk/blog/increasing-gene-coverage-for-developmental-disorders-in-panelapp-using-the-gene2phenotype-database.
    • Basenko, EY., Shanmugasundram, A., Boehme, U., Starns, D., Wilkinson, PA., Davison, HR., et al. What is new in FungiDB: a web-based bioinformatics platform for omics-scale data analysis for fungal and oomycete species. Genetics. 2024; 227(1): iyae035. PMID: 38529759.
    • Alvarez-Jarreta, J., Amos, B., Aurrecoechea, C., Bah, S., Barba, M., Barreto, A., et al. VEuPathDB: the eukaryotic pathogen, vector and host bioinformatics resource center in 2023. Nucleic Acids Research. 2024; 52(D1): D808-D816. PMID: 37953350.
    • Shanmugasundram, A., Starns, D., Boehme, U., Amos, B., Wilkinson, PA., Harb, OS., et al. TriTrypDB: An integrated functional genomics resource for kinetoplastida. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2023; 17(1): e0011058. PMID: 36656904.
    • Shanmugasundram, A., Gonzalez-Galarza, FF., Wastling, JM., Vasieva, O., Jones, AR. Library of Apicomplexan Metabolic Pathways: a manually curated database for metabolic pathways of apicomplexan parasites. Nucleic Acids Research. 2013; 41(D1): D706-D713. PMID: 23193253.

Peter Uetz, Center for Biological Data Science, Virginia, USA

The nominee has founded the EMBL Reptile Datatabase as a graduate student in 1995. It was thus one of the first biodiversity databases worldwide. Uetz has been its lead curator since its inception for almost 30 years. After the last contributor to the database, Ramu Chenna, had left EMBL, the database moved to TIGR in 2008 and then to an independent site in 2010. Uetz has curated about 50,000 papers over the past 30 years for a database that receives more than 2000 queries per day and has been cited more than 4,000 times in the scientific literature. He has also trained numerous student curators, programmers, and other volunteers who have helped to maintain the database. The Reptile Database is now a key contributor and collaborator of many other data sources, such as the NCBI Taxonomy, iNaturalist (a citizen science project), IUCN (Red List of threatened species), the Catalogue of Life, and others. Uetz has published about a dozen papers about the database and its history. The database contains descriptions of ~12,000 species of reptiles, >20,000 images, geographic and taxonomic information, as well as links to about 55,000 references online. The nominee also maintains a mailing list of about 5,000 people who receive regular updates on reptile taxonomy and topics related to the Reptile Database. More recently, work on the database included the establishment of standardized vocabularies (ontologies), the use of AI such as ChatGPT for data mining, and collaborations on image analysis and automated species recognition.

  • Publications
    • Uetz, P. & Etzold, T. 1996 The EMBL/EBI Reptile Database. Herpetological Review 27: 174-175
    • Uetz, P. & Stylianou, A. 2018 The original descriptions of reptiles and their subspecies. Zootaxa 4375 (2): 257-264, https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4375.2.5
    • Uetz P, Cherikh S, Shea G, Ineich I, Campbell PD, Doronin IV, Rosado J, Wynn A, Tighe KA, Mcdiarmid R, Lee JL, Köhler G, Ellis R, Doughty P, Raxworthy CJ, Scheinberg L, Resetar A, Sabaj M, Schneider G, Franzen M, Glaw F, Böhme W, Schweiger S, Gemel R, Couper P, Amey A, Dondorp E, Ofer G, Meiri S, Wallach V. 2019 A global catalog of primary reptile type specimens. Zootaxa 4695 (5): 438–450, https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4695.5.2
    • Uetz P, Koo MS, Aguilar R, Brings E, Catenazzi A, Chang AT, Chaitanya R, Freed P, Gross J, Hammermann M, Hosek J, Lambert M, Sergi Z, Spencer CL, Summers K, Tarvin R, Vredenburg VT, Wake DB 2021 A Quarter Century of Reptile and Amphibian Databases. Herpetological Review 52 (2): 246-255
    • Uetz, P.; Darko, Y.A.; Voss, O. 2023 Towards digital descriptions of all extant reptile species. Megataxa 010 (1): 027–042, https://doi.org/10.11646/megataxa.10.1.6