By Julieth Murillo

The ISB Travel Scholarship awarded by the International Society for Biocuration gave me the opportunity to participate in the Basel Computational Biology Conference [BC2], from 13 to 15 September 2021 at the Congress Center in Basel-Switzerland.

The subscription payment to this event allowed me to present my work in a 15-minute talk at the BionetVisa workshop. The work I presented encompassed the biocuration (in the Reactome database) and computational modelling of pathways determining Leishmania-host interaction outcomes, using existing RNA-seq data. This work involved a novel combination of transcriptomic data curation/analysis paired with dynamic computational modelling. Experts in modelling gave me valuable feedback that I will implement in my Ph.D. thesis.

In general, my participation in the BC2 conference helped me to strengthen my professional network, with modelers and other curators. In particular, I had the opportunity to speak with Tom Heilikar, the leader of the Cell Collective, a web-based logic model software. From this interaction, I was able to troubleshoot issues with a model that I had previously created in Cell Collective. This opened the doors for future collaborations. Also, I met my mentor Henning Hermjakob, leader of different databases like Reactome, from whom I always get meaningful insights. I also had the opportunity to meet Sylvain Soliman, a Senior Software Developer at Biochem. This interaction resulted in Sylvain as one of my future thesis examiners.

Although it was a short conference, I think it was a very productive experience and one of professional and personal growth. I was also able to visit beautiful places and meet old friends who are currently working in Switzerland. Thanks to the ISB for this opportunity, and I hope that other curators can benefit from this scholarship.