ISB Newsletter - June 2019


This is the second quarter newsletter for the International Society for Biocuration.

Highlights from Biocuration Conference

We hosted the 12th International Biocuration Conference in Cambridge, UK, from April 10-17. There were 4 keynote speakers, 10 workshops, 30 talks selected from abstracts plus a special session on future funding models and over 200 posters.

Congratulations to our award winners! 

ISB Career Award - Dr. Anne Morgat (SIB)
ISB Exceptional Contribution Award - Dr. Val Wood (U Cambridge)

Travel Fellowships Recipients:
Sushma Naithani, USA                   Aziz Khan, Norway
Pratibha Gour, India                        Mathieu Schaeffer, Switzerland
Salman Sadullah Usmani, India     Janisha Patel, USA

Conference Awards:
Best Talk - Nancy George (Atlas/EMBL-EBI)
Best Poster - 1st Suvarna Nadendla (ECO/U. Maryland)
                     - 2nd Lorna Richardson (Genome Properties/EMBL-EBI)
                     - 3rd Kimberly van Auken (WormBase/Caltech)
Save the Date: Biocuration 2020 in Bar Harbor, Maine

The 13th International Biocuration Conference will be held from May 17-20, 2020 in Bar Harbor, Maine, hosted by Jackson Labs. Check our website for more details as they become available.

Call to host Biocuration 2021

We are looking for a site to host Biocuration2021. Keeping up with the conference rotation between the Americas, Europe and Australasia - we would like to find a host in Asia/Australia for 2021. More information can be found here.

Please contact the ISB EC at if you are potentially interested in hosting Biocuration2021.

Executive Committee Highlights

Highlights from the Executive Committee (EC) are below. For more details, our monthly meeting minutes are posted online.

  • Following Biocuration2019 an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been formed, read more about it here. We recently submitted a response to an NIH Request for Information about Institutional Accountability to Promote Inclusive Excellence.

  • Website updates: Please view our updated website. Based on user feedback, we have reorganised the content to make it easier to navigate and more intuitive. More feedback is always welcome.

  • New Collaborations:

    • To promote interactions of the Biocuration community across the bioinformatics and Biocuration community, the ISB is now partnering with other conferences to offer travel fellowships. More info here.
    • The ISB is now collaborating with the Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit members’ organisation working to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D through pre-competitive collaboration.
    • Read more here
Fellowship opportunities at BC[2] conference in Basel, Switzerland

At the time of writing, the ISB are in the process of selecting recipients of two travel fellowships to current ISB members to attend the [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference, from September 10-11, 2019 at the Congress Centre in Basel, Switzerland. A full report will appear in our September newsletter. 

Randi Vita to visit EBI on an ISB Exchange Fellowship

Randi Vita from the Immune Epitope Database at the La Jolla Institute in San  Diego participated in an exchange fellowship to the EBI, to work on the representation of clinical antibody data in both the ChEMBL and the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) and attended a ChEBI workshop at the EMBL-EBI to learn more about the ontological representation of the chemical space. A full report will appear in our September newsletter.

Introducing the Contribution Role Ontology: Developing a sustainable community-driven approach to attribution

Announcing the Contributor Role Ontology (CRO), an open-source, OBO Foundry ontology that is a structured representation of contribution roles, built on the CRedIT taxonomy, for use in research information systems and designed for crediting persons or organizations.


Highlighting ISB Publications

Curating the Clinical Genome Meeting

Curation was in the air at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC, which was the venue of the 'Curating the Clinical Genome' (CCG) meeting from May 29th to May 31st. Around 300 participants from about a dozen countries attended this annual meeting organized by ClinGen and DECIPHER. The venue of the CCG meeting alternates between the US and the UK. The conference was kicked off by a fascinating talk by Dr. Eric Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), who took the attendees on an exciting journey through the past, present and the future of genomics, and its impact on biomedical research and healthcare. The conference included talks on a range of topics, including disease phenotyping and genotyping, variant interpretation, data sharing and developing sustainable partnerships for clinical curation. A great deal of excitement was generated by the Rapid Platform session, where a selected group of poster presenters got an opportunity to deliver a 'sales pitch' in 60 seconds using a single slide, to attract visitors to their posters. The conference enabled a lively exchange of ideas, state-of-the-art tools, best practices and exciting data among the attendees from government-funded institutions, the academia and the industry. The next CCG meeting will be held at the Wellcome Genome campus in Hinxton, UK from May 20th to 22nd, 2020, so mark your calendars!

Image: Dr. Eric Green, Director, NHGRI, delivering the keynote address on the opening day of the ‘Curating the Clinical Genome-2019’ meeting (Photo provided by Danielle Arrighi).
Issues with renewing your membership?

Our apologies - there are some known issues with membership renewals. We are working to resolve these ASAP. Please contact us at and we’ll work on resolving the issues.

Funding available from the ISB

Microgrant funding is available to all ISB members to sponsor local and regional short meetings of ISB members to foster synergy of their work efforts. We’d like to promote requests for funding that address issues surrounding diversity or accessibility. It’s simple to request funds and there is no deadline. Read more...

Funding is available for you to visit another lab or group! To promote collaboration and exchange between biocuration groups ISB offers fellowships. The fellowship will fund the visit of a biocurator to another laboratory or organization with extensive experience in biocuration.

Volunteer Opportunities

We thank those volunteers who were members of the 2019 awards committee and the 2018 election overseers. We still have several posts need filling.

Share your news and ideas with the ISB

Have an upcoming event, news, new publication or anything else that you’d like to highlight for the ISB community? Let us know. We can share your blog posts on our website, add content to this quarterly newsletter, or share content on our mailing list.

Email us at

Copyright © 2019 International Society for Biocuration, All rights reserved.