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CRCNS meeting 2008

Tolga suggested that we attend the CRCNS meeting again this year to present some of our work from a more biological perspective. So, for the second time in as many weeks, I packed things up for another trip to present our research and it was off to Los Angeles for us which is arguably closer to us than the last CRCNS meeting I attended back in Washington D.C.

Science is in an interesting place right now with respect to insufficient overall levels of funding and the potential for really big things to occur in a variety of fields from sensory biology to cancer and vision research and more with more investment in our future. From the perspective of this working group, there are dramatic improvements that can be made in science through the appropriate application of computational science. Huge amounts of data are being produced from the biological side and yet much of those data are not being properly analyzed, catalogued or made available to the wider community. So, the purpose of these meetings is to bring together computational scientists and bioscientists in an attempt to find some common ground and direction for getting bioscientists and computational scientists to collaborate.

Part of the workflow is to present one’s data in poster or presentations then talk about or discuss potential new ways to apply computational science to biomedical problems. There were lots of good suggestions this year with mine being the creation of a match-maker or catalyst position of sorts where selected individuals would work to bring individuals together that have good potential for solving biomedical problems through computational science. In the current funding climate, most scientists are going to stick to what they know and tend to be reluctant to start new collaborations, a concept that is critical to the focus of the CRCNS mission. Therefore, not many bioscientists or physicians are going to be looking very far outside their domains of expertise to begin new projects. This match-maker would actively seek out individuals that have promising biological and computational applications and actively work to get those two groups to collaborate, assisting with travel dollars for face to face meetings and direction as to which approaches they should take with respect to grant resources.

All said, the meetings were successful, but it is spooky to hear everyone talking about lapses in science funding. Good conversations were had however, and some new friends were made over dinner on the last night of the meetings including Ernie Barreto, Laurent Itti, Yuan Liu and others.


Categories: Science.

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