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3rd INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL
ON COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY
2007

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3rd International Summer School on COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY

13 -15 August 2007, Mikulov, Czech Republic

The Computational Biology is a modern field of study at the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University (MU) that was initiated several years ago. A further development and advance in this interdisciplinary programme is expected. The study programme is guaranteed by the Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses (IBA), which provides computationally oriented courses within the educational concept of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science. This concept covers an applied data analysis and informatics, both in theoretical lectures and practical training. The development of such interdisciplinary field would not be possible without an international cooperation. The cooperation with foreign experts remarkably increases the quality of education in Computational Biology and helps to incorporate new ideas and trends. The organization of summer schools is an efficient form of international cooperation: the invited lecturers enhance the quality of training and extend the scope of the provided programme.

IBA has initiated a yearly tradition of informal summer schools focused on various aspects of computational science in biology and biomedicine. Previous summer schools were organized in a close cooperation with the Research Centre for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology of Masaryk University (Recetox) and Jaroslav Hájek Centre for Theoretical and Applied Statistics of Masaryk University. These events were focused on methods of predictive modelling and ICT applications in environmental sciences. The presentations of summer schools organized in 2005 and 2006 can be found on the following web pages:

The summer schools in computational biology are expected to encourage the collaboration among professors, young scientists as well as students of computational biology. Students can participate in informal discussions about novel methods in their field of study and some of them seize this ideal opportunity to the presentation of their own results to the audience. An active contribution of advanced students makes a substantial part of the summer school´s programme. Moderated discussions among scientists and students from different countries enrich the professional knowledge of all participants. In the regular schedule of this study programme, there is often no space available for this kind of specific workshops and block lectures.

The 3rd International Summer School on Computational Biology will be held in Mikulov, Czech Republic, on 13-15 August 2007. The event will be devoted to the following important topic:

Processing and Analysis of Biodiversity Data: from Genomic Diversity to Ecosystem Structure.

Biodiversity or diversity of life is a very important phenomenon that generates exciting research topics for hundreds of years. However, it should be emphasized that investigation of biodiversity has been always closely coupled with mathematical theory and with computational skills. Even the simplest counting of species and visualization of abundance data require some kind of frequency analyses and summary statistics.

A breakthrough milestone was reached in the first half of 1900s thanks to the invention of theoretical background of the so-called "biodiversity indices". This was the starting moment of a real computational base of biodiversity research. In fact, it has not started as a "genuine" biological discipline but as a kind of application of cybernetics and mathematics in biological data. Indeed, biodiversity data form a unique structure that requires well-targeted and untypical mathematical procedures. The stress on the inventive mathematical support is however not compensated by the time required to develop reasonable applications. Any novel way of biodiversity data processing is directly interpreted from the biological point of view, and the mathematics therefore plays a very important role. This process was started in the era of the diversity indices mentioned above (nowadays we can work with hundreds of such biological metrics) and it continues in modelling of species-abundance curves, niche-oriented simulations, implementation of Markovian processes and application of modern data mining techniques.

There is another very interesting aspect of biodiversity research. Biodiversity is the diversity of life in all its forms and at all levels of organization. It includes the genetic diversity, the species diversity as well as the ecosystem diversity. The mathematical methodology developed for any type of biodiversity data can be transformed among these levels with a great potential to bring new ideas and interpretations. This "computationally catalysed bridging" between genomic and ecological sciences is surely very stimulating for anyone engaged in this type of research. On one hand, the planned summer school aspires to cover symmetrically all aspects of the problem, including the very diverse genomic data. On the other hand, we would like to present the biodiversity as an indispensable component of ecosystem quality and an endpoint of environmental studies.

We can conclude that there is really a lot of interesting topics to develop and to investigate in this field. And what is very important for the planned summer school, the world of biodiversity science is opened for new ideas and methods developed by computational scientists. The educational mission of the summer school will cover the genomic diversity, processing of species-abundance diversity and the visualization of any diversity data in the accessible software packages. Practical training in tutorials will be based on realistic case studies and the participants will be trained in the multivariate analysis of structure of biological communities.

All biologists interested in the computational background of diversity data, mathematics addressed by biological interpretation and impact of their methods as well as students from both fields are kindly invited to participate in the 3rd Summer School on Computational Biology.

On behalf of the Programme and Organizing Committee,
Ladislav Dušek
Jiři Hřebíček
Jiři Jarkovský
Danka Némethová


Consequential International Conference

The 18th annual meeting of the International Environmetrics Society TIES 2007 http://www.math.muni.cz/ties2007 will be held in the Mikulov Castle on 16-20 August 2007, after the 3rd International Summer School. Its main focus: Computational Environmetrics: Protection of Renewable Environment and Human and Ecosystem Health.


Past:

1st International Summer School on Computational Biology (2005)
First International Summer School on Computational Biology was motivated by the development of computational biology as rapidly growing field of science and covered several topisc on these science.

2nd International Summer School on Computational Biology (2006)
Second International Summer School on Computational Biology was focused on modern ICTs and statistical methods used in environmental research with special focus on human risk assessment. Lectures covered mathematical, statistical and data-mining methods used in processing of environmental and epidemiological data.


Future:

Summer school 2008: Statistical Methods Used in Cancer Epidemiology

Summer school 2009: Predictive Modelling of Biological Communities and their Biodiversity

Summer school 2010: Statistical and Data Management Methods in Clinical Trials

Summer school 2011: Sampling Design and Modelling of Transport and Fate of POPs in the Environment

Summer school 2012: Advanced Analyses of Molecularbiological and Clinical Data

IBA 3rd International summer school on COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY is organized by
Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Kamenice 126/3 Brno, Czech Republic, http://www.iba.muni.cz