Conference Chairs

Burkhard Rost, Conference Co-chair, Technical University Munich, Germany

Anna Tramontano, Conference Co-chair, University of Rome, Italy

Martin Vingron, Conference Co-chair, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany


Burkhard Rost obtained his doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) from the University of Heidelberg (Germany) in the field of theoretical physics. He began his research working on the thermo-dynamical properties of spin glasses and brain-like artificial neural networks. He moved briefly (1988-1990) into peace/arms control research designing simple non-intrusive sensor networks to monitor aircraft. He entered the field of molecular biology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany, 1990-1995), spent a year at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI, Hinxton, Cambridgshire, England, 1995), returned to the EMBL (1996-1998), joined the company LION Biosciences for a brief interim (1998). In 1998, he joined the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in the city of New York. In 2009, he has been awarded one of the first Alexander von Humboldt Professorships that has brought him to the TUM in Munich, where he is now chairing the program of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

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In 1992, Dr. Rost developed the first Internet server for structure prediction and sequence analysis (PredictProtein), and contributed a number of methods that predict aspects of protein structure. His major research contribution has been the combination of machine learning and evolutionary information. His academic research goal is to contribute toward the understanding of molecular evolution; his technical objective is to contribute toward understanding the impact of molecular changes. Particular focus lies now on predicting the effects of SNPs in the context of individualized medicine and the formation of diversity in general.

Current research focuses on the prediction of protein function from sequence and structure. It includes the prediction of subcellular localization, of protein-protein and protein-substrate interactions, the analysis of protein networks, the development of a dynamic view of the protein sequence/structure universe, the development of improved alignment algorithms, and the development of software systems that meet today’s challenges.


Anna Tramontano was trained as a physicist but she soon became fascinated by the complexity of biology and by the promises of computational biology. After a post-doctoral period at UCSF, she joined the Biocomputing Programme of the EMBL in Heidelberg. In 1990 she moved back to Italy to work in the Merck Research Laboratories near Rome. In 2001, she returned to the academic world as a Chair Professor of Biochemistry in "La Sapienza" University in Rome. She is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and of the Scientific Councils of the ERC. She is also one of the organizers of the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP) initiative, a member of the EBI Advisory Committee, of the Scientfic Advisory Board of the CRG, of the MPI for Molecular Genetics, of the SIB and of the Scuola Normale Superiore. She is Associate Editor of Bioinformatics and Proteins.

Her current research interests are devoted to the computational analysis of the genome, proteome and interactome of Homo sapiens and its parasites.


Martin Vingron (Dr. rer nat.), is a mathematician by education who has done his PhD in computational biology at EMBL in 1991. At the time and for a number of years of postdoctoral training his research has focused on the analysis of protein sequences, sequence analysis, sequence comparison, and molecular evolution. Methods of discrete optimisation were used for the design of comparison algorithms and probability theory was applied to answer questions of significance of computational results. Later, as a department head at the German Cancer Research Center and from 2000 on as a director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, his research focus shifted towards the processing and mathematical analysis of functional genomics data. He has contributed to analysis methods for DNA microarrays and in recent years has been working on transcriptional regulation. Vingron received the Max Planck Research Prize in 2004, is an elected member of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina, and also holds a secondary appointment at the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai.