Keystone Symposia

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This meeting took place in 2014

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Big Data in Biology (F2)

Organizer(s) Lincoln D. Stein, Doreen Ware and Michael Schatz
March 23—25, 2014
Fairmont San Francisco • San Francisco, CA USA
Discounted Abstract Deadline: Nov 19, 2013
Abstract Deadline: Dec 18, 2013
Scholarship Deadline: Nov 19, 2013
Discounted Registration Deadline: Jan 21, 2014

Sponsored by H3 Biomedicine Inc. and Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences

Summary of Meeting:
Biology has arrived at an interesting juncture. The last decade has seen an unprecedented explosion in the amount of information generated by the biological research community, and a concomitant rise in the challenges of sharing, archiving, integrating and analyzing it. This is particularly acute in genomics, where next generation sequencing technologies are accelerating faster than Moore's Law. Serendipitously, this explosion of biological data has come at the same time that computer scientists have developed scalable data management solutions for handling the vastness of the internet; solutions including distributed file systems, cloud computing, and algorithms for efficient data-intensive computation across multiple machines. This conference will bring together biologists and computer scientists from industry and academia to discuss the challenges and trends in this quickly evolving field. The goals include: * Surveying data and computation challenges in the fields of genomics, medical genetics, neuroinformatics, biological imaging and agronomics. * Identifying critical bottlenecks in distributing biological data to the community. * Discussing solutions to growing problem of data sets that are "too big to download." * Debating the tension between community access to personal genomic data sets (e.g. cancer genomes) and potential impact on patient privacy. What makes this conference unique is that it examines a common problem, "How do we handle big data?" across multiple research specialties that rarely interact. We are bringing together plant scientists, medical geneticists, genomicists, microscopists and neurobiologists. The expected outcome is a greater understanding of the challenges each field faces, and the solutions that they have found.

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No registration fees are used to fund entertainment or alcohol at this conference

Conference Program    Print  |   View meeting in 12 hr (am/pm) time


Registration and Refreshments



Arrival and Registration

Garden Room

Gold Room
Keynote Address: Cancer Hub

Venetian Room
* Lincoln D. Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada
Opening Remarks

David Haussler, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
Large-Scale Cancer Genomics

Databases and Clouds I

Venetian Room
Laura Clarke, European Bioinformatics Institute, UK
The 1000 Genomes Project, Community Access and Management for Large Scale Public Data

Dan Stanzione, University of Texas at Austin, USA
The iPlant Collaborative: Cyberinfrastructure for 21st Century Biology

Jill P. Mesirov, Broad Institute, USA
GenomeSpace: A Community Web Environment for Genomic Analysis Across Diverse Bioinformatic Tools

Francis Ouellette, Génome Québec, Canada
Short Talk: FGED: The Functional Genomics Data Society

Coffee Break

Gold Room
Poster Setup

Gold Room

Gold Room
Databases and Clouds II

Venetian Room
* Michael Schatz, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

Andrew Carroll, DNAnexus, USA
Insights from the Genomic Analysis of 10,940 Exomes and 3,751 Whole Genomes Demystifying Running at Scale and the Scientific

John Overington, Medicines Discovery Catapult, UK
Spanning Molecular and Genomic Data in Drug Discovery

Panel: Big Data Challenges and Solutions: Control Access to Individual Genomes

Venetian Room
* Doreen Ware, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

Michael Schatz, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

David Haussler, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Laura Clarke, European Bioinformatics Institute, UK

Jill P. Mesirov, Broad Institute, USA

Andrew Carroll, DNAnexus, USA

Lincoln D. Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada

Mark Gerstein, Yale University, USA

Poster Viewing

Gold Room
Social Hour

Gold Room
Poster Session

Gold Room



Gold Room
Personal Genomes

Venetian Room
* Doreen Ware, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

Lincoln D. Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada
The International Cancer Genome Consortium Database

Ajay Royyuru, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA
Genome Analysis with IBM Watson

Mark Gerstein, Yale University, USA
Human Genome Analysis

Stuart Young, Annai Systems Inc., USA
The BioCompute Farm: Colocated Compute for Cancer Genomics

Robert L. Grossman, University of Chicago, USA
Short Talk: An Overview of the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud

Adam Butler, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
Short Talk: Pan-Cancer Analysis of Somatic Variation from Whole Genome ICGC / TCGA Datasets

Maya M. Kasowski, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA
Short Talk: Extensive Variation in Chromatin States Across Humans

Coffee Break

Gold Room

Gold Room

Venetian Room
Susan Sunkin, Allen Institute for Brain Science, USA
Allen Brain Atlas: An Integrated Neuroscience Resource

Jason R. Swedlow, University of Dundee, UK
The Open Microscopy Environment: Open Source Image Informatics for the Biological Sciences

Douglas P.W. Russell, University of Oxford, UK
Short Talk: Decentralizing Image Informatics

* Michael Schatz, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA
Scalable Solutions for Next-Gen Sequence Analysis

Closing Remarks

Michael Schatz, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA


*Session Chair †Invited, not yet responded.

We gratefully acknowledge support for this conference from:

Directors' Fund

These generous unrestricted gifts allow our Directors to schedule meetings in a wide variety of important areas, many of which are in the early stages of research.

Click here to view all of the donors who support the Directors' Fund.

Keystone Symposia thanks our Sponsors(s) for generously supporting this meeting:

H3 Biomedicine Inc. Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences

We appreciate the organizations that provide Keystone Symposia with additional support, such as marketing and advertising:

Big Data Journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers

Special thanks to the following for their support of Keystone Symposia initiatives to increase participation at this meeting by scientists from underrepresented backgrounds:

Click here to view more of these organizations

If your organization is interested in joining these entities in support of Keystone Symposia, please contact: Sarah Lavicka, Director of Corporate Relations, Email:,
Phone:+1 970-262-2690

Click here for more information on Industry Support and Recognition Opportunities.

If you are interested in becoming an advertising/marketing in-kind partner, please contact:
Nick Dua, Senior Director, Communications, Email:,
Phone:+1 970-262-1179