VanBUG Talk: Fiona Brinkman, September 17, 2015 at 6pm, BCCRC‏

VanBUG is kicking off the 2015-2016 school year with a talk by Dr. Fiona Brinkman on September 17, 2015 at 6pm. Dr. Brinkman’s talk is titled: “Microbes (and why all bioinformaticists should care about them)”.

Abstract: As sequencing technology now allows us to rapidly sequence many microbial genomes daily, microbial bioinformatics is facing multiple challenges in large scale data integration, data analysis and visualization – challenges that other organismal/human genomics/bioinformatics areas will reach shortly. There is also rapidly growing understanding of the diverse role of microbes in humans and wider ecosystems – more than previously appreciated even a year ago – plus growing appreciation of microbial applications in medicine, agri-foods, environmental, and industrial fields. I will review my microbial bioinformatics research in the context of these diverse microbial applications, and in the context of current challenges more generally in bioinformatics. I will aim to show why all bioinformaticists should care about following microbial bioinformatics research. Also why now is a critical time for bioinformaticists to come together to promote open data, data standards, and open software development, to ensure we can effectively, and collectively, meet current challenges and capitalize on the wealth of data to come.

Bio: Fiona Brinkman is a Professor in Bioinformatics and Genomics the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University. Her expertise in microbial bioinformatics has led her to develop award-winning computational tools for analysis of human and microbe responses to infection and allergy. She currently coordinates a genome database project involving hundreds of researchers from 13 countries, and she is leading/co-leading multiple research projects improving microbial bioinformatics analyses with other researchers, such as from the BC Centre for Disease Control, National Microbiology Laboratory (PHAC), and other institutions in the U.S., Portugal, and UK. She is on several committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors for Genome Canada, the Scientific Advisory Board of the EBI’s European Nucleotide Archive, and the CIHR/GC Bioinformatics and Computational Biology National Strategy Committee. She cares strongly about bioinformatics training and is SFU co-Director of the UBC/SFU Bioinformatics Graduate Program. She has been a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior Scholar who has received a number of awards, including the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Fisher Award, Canada’s Top 100 Women from the Women’s Executive Network, a TR100 award from MIT for being one of the “top 100 of the world’s young innovators in science and technology”, and most recently was recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher – in the “top 1% of highly cited researchers in her field”.

Our introductory speaker is Saeed Saberi, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Martin Hirst’s lab. The title of his talk is “Chromatin landscape alteration in the rhabdoid tumour”.

In addition, you can tune in to view the VanBUG talks live online this year! The permanent webcast link is This technology is brought to you by Compute Canada and WestGrid with support from PHSA Telehelath.

Simply point your browser at the link during the live session to view the talk live. The webcast sessions are not interactive so if you have questions for the speakers please tweet your questions @VanBUG_ and we will try to respond to your questions live. Note that there is likely a 10-15 second delay with the video. We would love to hear what you think of the new service!

Sessions will also be recorded and archived with the presenters’ consent and the links will be posted on the VanBUG website.

Note that pizza, beverage and lively social interactions are not available via Webcast! So there are still good reasons to attend VanBUGs in person.

We have prepared an exciting season for you. Please visit our website at for all the other event dates and please save the dates!

675 West 10th Avenue
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Family Theatre
BC Cancer Agency


September 17, 2015
Start Time: 6:00 PM (except for the film screening which will starts at 7 PM)
End Time: 7:30 PM (followed by pizza and drinks)

Contact Name:
William Hsiao

The VanBUG team:
Cedric Chauve

Rodrigo Goya

William Hsiao

Amy Lee

Kieran O’Neill

Raunak Shrestha

Thea Van Rossum

VanBUG is generously sponsored by the CIHR Bioinformatics Training Program, BCCDC Foundation, MITACS, GenomeBC, and the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops. We thank our major sponsors CIHR Bioinformatics Training Program and welcome a new major sponsor, the BCCDC Foundation.

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