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ISU to host Bioinformatics Workshop at Lava Hot Springs Oct. 15-18

October 9, 2009
ISU Marketing and Communications

The fifth annual Idaho State University Bioinformatics Workshop on the topic “From Genome to Phenotype” will be held Oct. 15-18 at Lava Hot Springs. About 50 participants from about 20 institutions from throughout the region are scheduled to attend. 

The 2009 workshop features a three-session research symposium with speakers from 14 institutions; a three-session education symposium concentrating on integrating genome science into college-level introductory biology class curriculums; and a three-session training workshop led by experienced ISU graduate students, giving hands-on experience with cutting-edge tools.

“Participants frequently report that it is among the most productive meetings they attend, primarily because of the intimate setting and format that promotes collaborative discussions,” said Michael Thomas, ISU associate professor of biological sciences and workshop organizer. “Speakers tend to talk about cutting-edge work, rather than finished, polished, published work typical of other conferences.  The quality of discussions can be used to chart new directions for research and uncover overlooked possibilities.”  

The keynote speaker, Michael Pfrender, is a world-class scholar, according to Thomas.

Pfrender will deliver the talk “Advances and Challenges in Arthropod Genomics” at 8 p.m. Saturday. Pfrender is an associate professor of biology at Utah State University and the University of Notre Dame. His research group focuses on using combined molecular- and quantitative-genetic approaches to understand the evolution of complex characters in natural populations.

The workshop is primarily funded through an Idaho State Board of Education Technology Incentive Grant with additional support from the ISU Biomedical Research Institute, Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and the ISU Molecular Research Core Facility. The workshop is organized by ISU’s Evolutionary Genomics Group with assistance by ISU’s Conference Services. Thomas, who is on sabbatical for the 2009-10 academic year at Great Lakes Water Institute in Milwaukee, Wis., is returning to Idaho to help run the event. It will be held in the Aura Soma Lava Conference Center.

“We’ve worked hard to provide a well-rounded, intensive conference for participants in a relaxed setting,” said Victoria Bañales, director of ISU Conference Services. “There is still time for last-minute registrations to attend this highly informative event.”

For a complete conference schedule and registration information visit or contact Thomas at or (208) 380-5259.



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