20 November 2017

The first IBSE International Symposium was organised from 22-24th January 2018, at the IC&SR Auditorium, IIT Madras. Preceding the symposium, student participants were trained and challenged to perform next-generation sequence analyses as part of a day long workshop conducted by Rohit Gupta (MedGenome Labs). The symposium was inaugurated by Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi (Director, IITM) who pointed out the importance of this symposium to not only usher in a transition from genotype to phenotype but eventually also to actionable prototypes, and Prof. R. Nagarajan (Dean, International & Alumni Relations, IITM), who talked about the importance and convergence of interdisciplinary activities in the campus. On Day 1, we had five talks by including from Amit Dutt (ACTREC), Michael Gromiha (BT), Rune Linding (Univ. Copenhagen), and Shamith Samarajiwa (MRC, Cambridge). Two poster flash talks and an energetic poster session were the other highlights of the day. Following the scientific sessions, the delegates paid a visit to the IITM Research Park, where they had an opportunity to see the synergy between established companies and IITM as well as entrepreneurial ventures. Following this, we hosted a banquet dinner at Holiday Inn. On Day 2, we had an exciting session with talks by Edda Klipp (HU Berlin), Simon Anders (ZMBH Heidelberg), Shekhar Mande (NCCS) and Niranjan Nagarajan (GIS Singapore). Following another set of poster talks and a poster session, we had talks by Manikandan Narayanan (CS), Erik van Nimwegen (Biozentrum, Basel) and B. Ravindran (CS). Following the talks, we had an entertaining Carnatic music concert by “Kalaimamani” Smt. Gayathri Girish. Day 3 began with a stimulating talk by Giriraj Chandak (CCMB) highlighting the key drivers of “diabesity” in the Indian populace. Other talks were by Rudiyanto Gunawan (ETH Zürich), Vinod Scaria (IGIB), Amit Chaudhuri (VP R&D MedGenome), Haja Kadarmideen (Director, DTU Bioinformatics) and the final talk was by Lars Steinmetz (EMBL Heidelberg & Stanford Univ.), on cutting edge technologies that will impact experimental systems biology over the next few years, thereby actually suggesting a path for going from genotype to phenotype to prototype. Two poster prizes were awarded, and the meeting concluded with thanks to all involved, notably the student volunteers who made the whole event possible. The event was attended by students from all over the country, and a faculty each from IITG and IITKGP. These and our own IBSE students’ involvement and energy at the symposium was applauded by Rune Linding in the final feedback session.

Acknowledgements: IBSE is grateful to Dr. Prakash Arunachalam, Lead Data Scientist, BNY Mellon, USA, for his generous contribution supporting the IBSE and funding this Symposium through the Office of International and Alumni Relations, IIT Madras. We also gratefully acknowledge support from the Office of International and Alumni Relations, the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) and the Department of Biotechnology, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, IIT Madras. The organisers also acknowledge the support and mentorship of Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman, Mehta Distinguished Chair (IIT Madras) and Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cancer Unit (University of Cambridge, UK). We also gratefully acknowledge the support of our Director, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Prof. R. Nagarajan, Dean, International & Alumni Relations, and Prof. D. Karunagaran, Head, Department of Biotechnology, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences. Finally, we acknowledge the hard work of all student volunteers from our laboratories.

– Himanshu Sinha & Karthik Raman (Co-Ordinators)

For further details, visit the Symposium Website and the Gallery