Welcome to the Computational Genomics and Systems Biology Symposium
- virtual edition

An event organised by young researchers, for young researchers

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Join us from the comfort of your own home on the 3rd and 4th of December 2020.

Computational Genomics and Systems Biology Symposium 2020

This symposium, run by - and mainly for - PhD students, has been running successfully since 2010.

This year will be different for two main reasons; firstly, the current global situation means that this will be the first virtual edition of the symposium, and secondly, this year, students of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology PhD programme at UCD have teamed up with students of the SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science at NUIG to organise the symposium.

These changes to the format of the symposium mean that we can offer the event for free and hopefully reach a wider audience.

The symposium will highlight research that falls under the umbrella of computational genomics and systems biology, with a focus on four broad research themes: Human Health & Disease, Population Genomics & Evolution, Metagenomics, Agrigenomics & Microbial Genomics and Methods Development, Machine Learning & Systems Biology.

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Uri Alon
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Title TBC
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Prof. Uri Alon earned his BSc in physics and mathematics, and his MSc in physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1989). He was awarded his PhD in physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science (1996), and was a postdoctoral fellow in experimental biology in the Departments of Physics and Molecular Biology at Princeton University (1997-1999), before taking a position at the Weizmann Institute in 1999. He is the incumbent of the Abisch- Frenkel Professorial Chair. Prof. Alon works at the interface between physics and biology, and is one of the founders of the field of systems biology. Prof. Alon has made influential discoveries, chief among them that biological networks are made of repeating circuit patterns called network motifs. His team includes physicists and biologists working together to understand the principles of the molecular systems that guide the decisions of our bodies’ cells. He is currently developing cocktails of drugs to combat cancer at low doses that avoid side effects, defining the design principles for hormone circuits and their susceptibility to aging and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, neurodegeneration and depression. He also studies principles of human behavior using concepts from theater and accurate physics measurements and mathematical models. Prof. Alon received the 2014 Nakasone prize awarded by the Human Frontiers Science Project for a breakthrough in the life sciences for his work on network motifs and the Jacques Solvay Chair in Physics in 2017. He was awarded the Michael Bruno Memorial Award in 2009 from the Yad Hanadiv Foundation. His previous prizes and honors include: the Moore Fellowship, California Institute of Technology (2000), EMBO Young Investigator Award (2001), Minerva Junior Research Group on Biological Computation (2003), Morris L. Levinson Award in Biology of the Weizmann Institute’s Scientific Council (2003), IBM Faculty Award (2003), the Overton Prize of the International Society for Computational Biology (2004). He acts and teaches in Playback Theatre, an improvisation theatre that aims to connect people by listening to real life stories told by audience members and enacting them on the spot. Uri is an outspoken advocate of the importance of good human relationships in science, as seen on his 2013 TED talk.
Dr. Casey Greene
University of Pennsylvania, US
The bounty of the commons: machine learning from everybody else's data
Casey is an Associate Professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His lab develops learning methods that integrate distinct large-scale datasets to extract the rich and intrinsic information embedded in such integrated data. This approach reveals underlying principles of an organism’s genetics, its environment, and its response to that environment. Casey’s devotion to the analysis of publicly available data doesn’t stop in the lab. In 2016, Casey established the “Research Parasite Awards” after an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine deemed scientists who analyze other scientists’ data “research parasites.” These honors, accompanied by a cash prize, are awarded to scientists who rigorously reanalyze other people’s data to learn something new.
Dr. Thomas Schwarzl
EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany
Discovering novel functions of RNA-binding proteins through improved eCLIP-seq binding site detection
Thomas did his PhD in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics with Des Higgins and Walter Kolch in the Systems Biology Ireland department at University College Dublin (UCD). For his doctoral studies he focused on the analysis of high-throughput studies to determine cell fate decisions where he was involved in cancer (neuroblastoma, Ras-oncogene) and regenerative stem cell research. He was awarded an EMBL Interdisciplinary PostDoc (EIPOD) fellowship and studies novel RNA-binding proteins and their biological functions in a collaboration of Matthias Hentze and Wolfgang Huber's labs at EMBL, Heidelberg. In 2019, Thomas was promoted to Research Staff Scientist at EMBL where he is head of the bioinformatics data-analysis team in Matthias Hentze’s lab. Thomas specializes in interdisciplinary scientific work with experimentalists and researchers with heterogeneous backgrounds.
Dr. Eimear Kenny
Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, US
Title TBC
Eimear Kenny, PhD, is Founding Director of the Institute for Genomic Health, and Associate Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Mount Sinai. She is a statistical and population geneticist by training. She leads a multi-disciplinary team focused on solving problems at the interface of genetics, ancestry and medicine. She is Principal Investigator in multiple NIH-funded consortia focused on genomic medicine and health, including NHGRI Clinical Sequencing Evidence-based Research, NHGRI Genome Sequencing Project, and NHLBI Trans-omics in Precision Medicine. She is a scientific advisor to many genomic medicine initiatives in government, non-profit and industry arenas. She has published over 65 papers in leading journals like Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, NEJM, and her work has been featured by the New York Times, Australian Broadcasting Company and at the Smithsonian Human Genome Exhibit in Washington DC. She has a BA in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin, a PhD in computational genomics from Rockefeller University, and did her postdoctoral training in population genomics at Stanford University.
Dr. Viviane Slon
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Neandertals and Denisovans - what have we learned from ancient DNA?
I am a senior lecturer in the Departments of Anatomy and Anthropology and Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (Israel), and am affiliated with the Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research, where I am the head of the ancient DNA laboratory. My PhD and post-doctoral research on ancient hominin DNA were conducted in the Department of Evolutionary Genetics of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). I have an MSc in Medical Sciences and a BSc in Medical and Life Sciences, both from Tel Aviv University. I am the recipient of the Dan David Prize Scholarship for Young Researchers (2017), the Otto Hahn Medal (2018), the Otto Hahn Award (2018), and the Alon Fellowship (2020).
Prof. Yvan Saeys
Ghent University, Belgium
Title TBC


Day 1 - Thursday, 3rd December

  • Session 1 - Human Health & Disease
  • Session 2 - Population Genomics & Evolution

Day 2 - Friday, 4th December

  • Session 3 - Metagenomics, Agrigenomics & Microbial Genomics
  • Session 4 - Methods Development, Machine Learning & Systems Biology
Full schedule will be announced soon!


Submit an abstract for this event

Abstract submission is now open! 

We welcome abstracts from all areas relevant to the main themes of this symposium, for both oral and poster presentations. Abstracts will be reviewed once the deadline has passed and you will be notified shortly after, whether or not your abstract has been selected.

If you would like to present a (virtual) poster or a short talk at this event, please follow the link below to submit a short abstract (250 words). 

Abstract submission closing date:  31st of October 2020.

Submit an abstract

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this event, feel free to get in touch with us via any of the channels below and a member of our organising committee will respond ASAP!

- gensysbioconf@nuigalway.ie
- @CompMolBioSymp
- @CompGenomics_SysBioSymposium20

Organising Committee Members

Barry Digby
, National University of Ireland, Galway
Lydia King, National University of Ireland, Galway
Shane O’Connell, National University of Ireland, Galway
Sarah Ennis, National University of Ireland, Galway
Annabelle Nwaokorie. University College Dublin
Cian D’Arcy, University College Dublin
James Ward, University College Dublin
Martina Kreileder, University College Dublin
Samuel Carthy, University College Dublin
Sarah Lussoso, University College Dublin
Swathi Ramachandra Upadhya, University College Dublin