Keynote speakers

Peer Bork

Systemic analysis of biological systems: lessons from a small single bacterium and a large complex community

European Molecular Laboratory Lab, Heidelberg, Germany

Peer Bork, PhD, is senior group leader and joint head of the Structural and Computational Biology unit at EMBL, a European research organization with headquarters in Heidelberg. He also holds an appointment at the Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. Dr Bork received his PhD in Biochemistry (1990) and his habilitation in Theoretical Biophysics (1995). He works in various areas of computational biology and systems analysis with focus on function prediction, comparative analysis and data integration. He has published more than 400 research articles in international, peer-reviewed journals, among them more than 45 in Nature, Science and Cell. According to ISI (analyzing the last 10 years), dr. Bork is currently the most cited European researcher in Molecular Biology and Genetics. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals including Science and PloS Biology, and functions as senior editor of the journal Molecular Systems Biology.

Dr. Bork co-founded four biotech companies, two of which went public. More than 25 of his former associates now hold professorships or other group leader positions in prominent institutions all over the world.

He received the "Nature award for creative mentoring" for his achievements in nurturing young scientists and was the recipient of the prestigious "Royal Society and Academie des Sciences Microsoft Award" for the advancement of science using computational methods.


Elaine Mardis

Analysis of whole-genome sequencing data from paired tumor and normal genomes

Washington University Genome Center, St-Louis, MO, USA

Dr. Elaine Mardis graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. degree in zoology.  She then went on to complete her Ph.D.  in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1989, also at Oklahoma.   Following graduation, Dr. Mardis was a senior research scientist for four years at BioRad Laboratories in Hercules, CA. 

In 1993, Dr. Mardis joined The Genome Center at Washington University School of Medicine. As Director of Technology Development, she helped create methods and automation pipelines for sequencing the Human Genome.  She currently orchestrates the Center’s efforts to explore next generation sequencing technologies and to transition them into production sequencing capabilities.

Dr. Mardis has research interests in the application of DNA sequencing to characterize cancer genomes.   She also is interested in facilitating the translation of basic science discoveries about human disease into the clinical setting. 

Dr. Mardis serves on several NIH study sections, is an editorial board member of Genome Research, and acts as a reviewer for Nature and Genome Research.   She serves as chair of the Basic and Translational Sciences for the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group.   Dr. Mardis recently received the Scripps Translational Research award for her work on cancer genomics.


Hans Westerhoff

University of Manchester, UK and Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Hans Westerhoff is Professor of Systems Biology at Manchester University and also Professor of Microbial Physiology (Free University Amsterdam, VUA) and Professor of Mathematical Biochemistry (University of Amsterdam, UvA) at the BioCentrum Amsterdam. He heads a transnational research group on Systems Biology which spans the Manchester Centre for Integrative Systems Biology (MCISB) in the Manchester Interdisciplinary BioCentre (MIB) and the BioCentrum Anmsterdam (see also ). His research interest focuses on how the interactions of macromolecules can lead to biological functioning, and integrates quantitative expermentation with mathematical analyses.


Yves Van de Peer

The evolutionary significance of ancient whole genome duplications and computational approaches to unveiling them

Flemish Institute of Biotechnology and University of Ghent, Belgium

Yves Van de Peer is professor in Bioinformatics and Genome biology in the Department of Plant Systems Biology at Ghent University, Belgium.  He is leading a bioinformatics group of about 35 people.  Yves Van de Peer has published about 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals and his group is a center of excellence in the fields of gene prediction and genome annotation, comparative genomics, and (top-down) systems biology.


Michael J. E. Sternberg

Modeling protein structure, function, and interactions

Imperial College, London, UK

Professor Michael Sternberg is the Director of the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology at Imperial College (CISBIC) and Centre for Bioinformatics (CfB) at Imperial College London and he holds the Chair of Structural Bioinformatics at Imperial. Michael Sternberg’s  research interest are protein bioinformatics and the development of logic-based chemoinformatics. His group have developed the Phyre server for protein structure prediction, 3D-Garden for protein-protein docking, and Confunc/ 3DLigand Site for protein function prediction. Recent work has developed methods to analyse the interactome and pathways. The chemoinformatics modelling employs a logic-based approach and is able to learn rules relating structure to activity and then use these rules to identify novel active molecules.


Rainer Spang

From large data to small networks

University of Regensburg, Germany

Rainer Spang is professor and chair of statistical bioinformatics at the University of Regensburg, Germany. His research focuses on modelling gene expression and signal disruption in human cancers. More recently, he addressed problems of reconstructing cellular information flow from molecular perturbation experiments.