Pavel Pevzner, UC San Diego
Ron Shamir, Tel Aviv University

Organizing Committee

Nitin Gupta, UC San Diego
Mark Chaisson, UC San Diego
Alex Wong, Calit2

Sangtae Kim, UC San Diego

First RECOMB Satellite Conference on Bioinformatics Education

March 14-15, 2009
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California

See the paper
P.A. Pevzner and R. Shamir. Computing has changed biology--biology education must catch up.
Science. 2009 Jul 31;325(5940):541-2
for the summary of the 1st RECOMB Bioinformatics Education conference and the pedagogical challenges that lay ahead

See the web site of the 2nd RECOMB Bioinformatics Education conference, May 22-23, 2010

The First RECOMB Satellite Conference on Bioinformatics Education (RECOMB-BE) will be held at the Center for Algorithmic and Systems Biology (CASB) at the University of California, San Diego. The meeting will consist of invited presentations, oral presentations selected from submitted abstracts, a poster session, and discussion panels.


Admission is free of charge for students, but registration is required; for all others, including faculty and staff, registration is $100. Coffee breaks and lunch will be provided.



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Theme and Scope

The purpose of RECOMB-BE is to showcase best practices and discuss existing challenges in bioinformatics education, with an emphasis on undergraduate education. The conference will also promote collaborations among educators in order to develop a stable curriculum that truly reflects state-of-the-art bioinformatics. The meeting will also showcase selected bioinformatics research projects conducted by undergraduate students.

While biology has been transformed into an informational and computational science in the last decade, the biology curriculum remains largely unchanged with respect to computational courses. The question, "How to teach bioinformatics to biology students?", is particularly important at a time when many universities have already started undergraduate bioinformatics programs and discussions are under way about adding new computational courses to the standard biology curriculum - a dramatic paradigm shift in biology education. However, there has been no satisfactory answer to date in response to the educational question of how to deliver computational ideas to biologists.

It is a problem when bioinformatics courses cater to a protocol-centric pragmatic approach, focusing on parameter settings, application-specific features and so on, without revealing the computational ideas behind the algorithms. Imagine a calculus course teaching physicists and engineers how to compute integrals without attempting to explain what 'integral' means. Physicists and engineers escaped this pitfall, probably because they understood that the recipe-based approach to computational science would restrict scientific research in their core disciplines. It is important to communicate the pitfalls of recipe-based approaches to bioinformatics, and RECOMB-BE aims to demonstrate the intricacy, practicality and beauty of modern bioinformatics at the undergraduate level.

Confirmed Speakers

Vineet Bafna, UC San Diego

Serafim Batzoglou, Stanford University

Gill Bejerano, Stanford University

Michael Eisen, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Terry Gaasterland, UCSD

Mikhail Gelfand, Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State University

Sridhar Hannenhalli, Penn Center of Bioinformatics

Trey Ideker, UC San Diego

Richard Karp, UC Berkeley

Manolis Kellis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Alex Kondrashov, University of Michigan

Christopher Lee, UCLA

Lior Pachter, UC Berkeley

Pavel Pevzner, CASB and UC San Diego

Natasa Przulj, UCI

David Sankoff, University of Ottawa

Ron Shamir, Tel Aviv University

Amos Tanay, Weizman Institute of Sciences

Martin Vingron, Max Planck Institute and Free University of Berlin


RECOMB-BE will have a somewhat unusual format. In comparison to most previous meetings on bioinformatics education that focused on "how bioinformatics should be taught", we want to showcase how leading bioinformaticians actually teach. Speakers will give short, introductory-level lectures aimed at undergraduates, and the lectures will be videotaped and later made freely available over the Internet. These lectures will be complemented by panel discussions focusing on existing challenges in bioinformatics education, along with a showcase of undergraduate research projects.


RECOMB-BE is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(HHMI) and by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). RECOMB-BE and HHMI offer travel support to undergraduate students interested in bioinformatics, and first-year graduate students who present their previous undergraduate work. To apply for Travel Support, click here to fill out an obligatory questionnaire.

Call for Participation

We invite submissions in two categories:

  • Bioinformatics Education (submitted by educators); or
  • Undergraduate Bioinformatics Research (submitted by undergraduate or first-year graduate students).

The abstracts in the first category can either discuss practice, challenges, and perspectives in bioinformatics education (e.g., curricula, integration of bioinformatics programs, online courses, etc.) or represent a proposal for a short 20-min introductory lecture aimed at undergraduates. We are specifically looking for lectures that start with a description of an interesting biological problem, e.g., "Did we evolve from Neanderthals?" and show how computational techniques solve this biological problem.

The selected abstracts in both categories will be invited either for oral or for poster presentations. Note that the acceptance of poster abstract is conditional on at least one of its authors pre-registering for the RECOMB-BE workshop electronically.

About CASB

The Center for Algorithmic and Systems Biology (CASB) is dedicated to the study of computational approaches in biological sciences. It serves as a worldwide bioinformatics conference center and forum for researchers in algorithmic and systems biology. CASB also aims to promote interactions among different departments at the University of California, San Diego; among different institutions in the San Diego region; and between academia and industry. The center also supports original research and educational activities in bioinformatics.


The RECOMB International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology conference series was founded in 1997 to provide a scientific forum for theoretical advances in computational biology and their applications in molecular biology and medicine. The conference solicits research contributions from all areas of computational molecular biology. The origins of the conference came from the mathematical and computational side of the field, and there remains a focus on computational advances. In addition, the effective use of computational techniques in biological discovery is also an important aspect of the conference. The 13 Annual RECOMB conference (RECOMB 2009) will take place May 18-21, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. RECOMB Bioinformatics Education satellite extend the series of RECOMB satellites covering various aspects of bioinformatics: RECOMB Comparative Genomics, RECOMB Regulatory Genomics, RECOMB Computational Cancer Biology, RECOMB Computational Proteomics, RECOMB SNPs and Haplotypes and RECOMB Systems Biology.