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7th annual [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference 'Molecular Evolution' June 18-19, 2009

The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the Biozentrum of the University of Basel's 7th annual [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference "Molecular Evolution", opened today at the Congress Center in Basel. This year, the conference celebrates the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his major work, "On the Origin of the Species".

Invited speakers include leading experts in evolutionary and computational biology:

Walter J. Gehring, opening the conference with a keynote lecture, "Evolution of Eyes and Photoreceptors", is Professor at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, President of the International Society for Developmental Biologists and a member of the National Academy of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Sweden. The identification of PAX6 as a master control gene for eye development is one of the outstanding achievements of Prof. Gehring and his collaborators. The demonstration that targeted expression of one and the same master control gene, that is, Pax6 can induce the formation of ectopic eyes in both insects and vertebrates, necessitates a reconsideration of the dogma of a polyphyletic origin of the various eye types in all the animal phyla. Prof. Gehring is recipient of the Kyoto Prize for Basic Science (2000) and the Balzan Prize for Developmental Biology (2002). He and his group also discovered the homeobox, a DNA segment characteristic for homeotic genes which is present in arthropods and their ancestors and also in vertebrates including man.

Derek Smith, Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK, will present on "The antigenic evolution of influenza viruses". He will describe the study of influenza virus evolution, required for influenza vaccine strain selection. Derek is one of the leading scientists studying the current H1N1 flue outbreak. His methods are routinely used to analyze the global data from the World Health Organization influenza surveillance network as part of the influenza vaccine strain selection process.

Richard E. Lenski, who will be speaking about the "Dynamics of Phenotypic and Genomic Evolution During a 40,000-Generation Experiment with E. coli", holds the Hannah Distinguished Professor of microbial ecology office at Michigan State University and was elected in 2006 to the United States National Academy of Sciences. He is best-known for his long-term experimental evolution project on E. coli. In his address, Professor Lenski will describe in more detail recent findings in this project providing new insights on the dynamic coupling of phenotypic and genomic evolution and the role of complex mutations in the origin of new functions.

Eugene V. Koonin will close the conference with a keynote lecture on "Universals of genomic and phenomic evolution", in which he will discuss the use of simple, general models of evolutionary processes to describe genomic and phenomic evolution. Dr. Koonin is a Senior Investigator for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is active in Computational Biology and Genomics at NCBI since 1991. He is also editor of the Genome Analysis section in Trends in Genetics.

Other speakers include:

  • Manolis Dermitzakis, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK
  • Allan Drummond, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
  • Adam Eyre-Walker, University of Sussex, UK
  • Laurent Excoffier, SIB & University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Francois Felber, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland
  • Karen E. Nelson, J. Craig Venter Institute, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Christine Orengo, University College London, UK
  • Daniel E. Platt, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Centre, NY, USA
  • Stefan Rensing, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Nicolas Salamin, SIB & University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Christian von Mering, SIB & University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Eske Willerslev, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

[BC]2 will take place June 18 from 8:00-17:30 and June 19 from 9:30-16:45 at the Congress Center Basel, Messeplatz 21, 4005 Basel. For more detailed information about the conference, visit [BC]2


Contact: janice blondeau
Swiss Institute of Bioinoformatics

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