Pascale Gaudet and Sandra Orchard – Recipients of the 2023 Exceptional Contribution to Biocuration Award

It is our great pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2023 Exceptional Contribution to Biocuration Award, the voting this year resulted in a tie and thus we have two recipients:

Pascale Gaudet, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Switzerland

Pascale Gaudet has worked in the biocuration field for over 19 years first at DictyBase and more recently NextProt and the Gene Ontology Consortium. Pascale is currently the GO Project Manager and oversees all editorial content. She has worked continually not only to improve the Gene Ontology structure and formalisation, but also has driven the project to produce high quality phylogenetically inferred GO annotation using the PAINT annotation system. The PAINT annotations are much more specific than existing annotation from automated sources, because they can be refined on a family-by-family and even gene-by-gene basis. This system is now providing over 3.5 million annotation in the GOA annotation database.

Pascale is working constantly to refine legacy and dormant annotations across the ontology, and with multiple collaborating groups to refine the both ontology and annotation to ensure that both are fit for purpose. She is driving the coordination of overhauls in many areas of GO ontology including multi-species processes, transcription, chromatin remodeling, tacking each are with insight and attention to detail but never failing to see the bigger picture. She has been key to the communication between different interested groups and manages the numerous discussions with efficiency. This is work that almost every bench biologist depends on to some degree, but is largely unrecognised because it depends on thousands of incremental tasks that are not usually attributed or described in publications.

Sandra Orchard, EBI, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK

Sandra has worked tirelessly for the biocuration community for over 20 years. She is currently the Team Leader for Protein Function Content at UniProt (, and is therefore responsible for a major part of probably the most used biological database in the world. In this role, she also maintains two other key interfaces: the Complex Portal ( and the Enzyme Portal ( Previously, Sandra led the IntAct molecular interaction database ( and managed the IMEx consortium of collaborating interaction databases. She has also been key in establishing standards within the proteomics community, and has made significant contributions to the InterPro database and the Gene Ontology. Sandra has always been a strong proponent of FAIR principles, education and the biocuration community: she has chaired and/or contributed to numerous biocuration-related committees; she established the first formal educational qualification in biocuration (PgCert at the University of Cambridge); and she has been a long-time supporter of the ISB, serving as treasurer from 2015-2018 and chair from 2018-2020. Sandra has published ~200 papers on biocuration methods, standards and databases, which serves as a measure of her impact and importance both to the biocuration community as well as to the researchers who depend on the many resources to which she has contributed.

Congratulations Pascale and Sandra!

Thank you to the Awards Committee:

Nicole Vasilevsky

Parul Gupta

Susan Bello

Ruth Lovering

Many thanks to ISB members for voting!