Federica Quaglia

Candidate: Federica Quaglia
Current position: Lead Biocurator of DisProt and PED.
Affiliation: National Research Council CNR-IBIOM and BioComputing UP Lab at University of Padova, Italy

Lead biocurator of DisProt (https://disprot.org/) – database of manually curated intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) from literature – and PED (https://proteinensemble.org/) – database of manually curated structural ensembles of IDPs. After completing my MSc in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Padova, I entered the doctoral program in Biomedical Sciences in the same university. I successfully concluded my PhD in 2020 with a project on the computational analysis of pVHL tumor suppressor. I am currently a CNR (National Research Council) postdoc fellow at Silvio Tosatto’s lab in the University of Padova (Italy), where I lead the DisProt and PED biocuration teams, supervise and mentor more than 40 community curators from different countries (e.g. Hungary, Belgium, Germany, Argentina) and 1 professional curator. I started as a DisProt curator myself in 2015 and biocuration has been my main research interest/topic since 2019, when I started leading the DisProt biocuration team. Meanwhile I also attended training and performed curation for other databases, e.g. IntAct. Moreover I design training materials and deliver training sessions for DisProt and PED biocurators and provide them with one-on-one support with curation-related issues.

Motivations for a position on the ISB Executive Committee:

As the lead biocurator of two main manually curated databases of intrinsically disordered proteins, my work entirely revolves around biocuration, supervising and coordinating efforts from over 40 biocurators located in different countries.
Last year I joined the Organizing Committee of the ISB 2021 Virtual Conference and I much appreciate playing an active role in the organization of this year’s sessions along with hosting them. I perceive my involvement in ISB as a truly formative experience, as the Society gave me the opportunity to build a solid network of collaborators and exchange ideas, therefore I would love to become more directly involved in the work of the ISB and in promoting the activities of the society. Moreover, as my current efforts demonstrate, I am committed to the same scientific goals of the society in terms of open science and promoting data sharing and interoperability standards. Supporting and promoting equity, diversity and inclusion policies is also equally relevant to me given my current position allows me to supervise and mentor a team of biocurators from different countries.

As a professional biocurator I am well aware that mine is a privileged position and I would like to explore ways to raise awareness on the crucial role played by biocurators – both professional and community ones – in the scientific community and provide them with training opportunities and career options. I am passionate about two main areas related to biocuration, that I would love to help develop in ISB, i.e. proper crediting of the work done by biocurators (1) and training in biocuration (2). I am involved in APICURON an open and freely accessible resource aiming at recognizing and crediting the work of biocurators across multiple participating knowledgebases -the associated article has been recently published on Database. I also believe the use of social media accounts can be an effective complementary way to credit and promote the work of biocurators to the scientific community. To this end I also created and I manage the DisProt Twitter account to make the database more accessible and available to the users and to provide additional visibility to the work of our biocurators. Finally, I think it is crucial to raise awareness on biocuration as a career path and on how to help biocurators in acquiring and developing the required skills for these positions. However the opportunities of training required in order to pursue biocuration professions are not always easily reachable, and I hope I can contribute in establishing accessible, long-term learning opportunities for biocurators inside the ISB and hopefully a dedicated resource for biocurators to explore available training, volunteering and career options.

Conflicts of interest: