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02.02.18

Thomas Lengauer is president of the leading international society for bioinformatics

Thomas Lengauer, director at the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science and spokesman of the Center for Bioinformatics at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, has become president of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB).

Thomas Lengauer, director at the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science and principal investigator of the Cluster of Excellence.

Bioinformatics deduces the function of living organisms on a molecular level with mathematical models and algorithms. Their central importance was derived from developments in molecular biology, which provide cell-wide information on the hereditary material, i.e., the blueprint of the cell (genomics), the genes read in the cell (transcriptomics), the protein molecules (proteomics) and the metabolism products (metabolomics) produced in the cell as well as their interactions (interactomics).

Current research focuses on the regulation of molecular processes in cells (epigenomics) and the molecular basis of diseases. Bioinformatics provides computer-based tools for molecular biology experiments in order to analyze the extensive data obtained with regard to biologically relevant patterns (data mining) and to develop mathematical models for biological structures and processes. Extensive software systems are developed and used to accomplish these tasks.

"Our society is currently well positioned, but should continue to grow in order to address the tasks of the future," explains Professor Lengauer. "We need to further improve the knowledge of bioinformatics skills and capabilities among our partners in the life sciences." In pharmaceutical research, health research and biotechnology, for example, a more precise understanding of the complex interactions of the various biomolecules in organisms is essential; the availability of extensive data collections, computing power and efficient analysis algorithms has opened up new development opportunities. Lengauer continues: "I see it as my task as the president to further consolidate bioinformatics as an interdisciplinary area. Biologists in particular can profitably combine our findings and tools with their research and are increasingly dependent on them."

With the development of this area, national and international societies, such as the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), were founded in the 1990s. Founded in Washington D. C. in 1997 and having over 3000 members, the ISCB is currently the largest society and host of the largest annual meeting, the  International Symposium on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology. It runs scientific education initiatives, organizes or participates in conferences on all continents, maintains partnerships with scientific journals, awards science prizes, and issues scientific opinions.  Thomas Lengauer is the seventh president of the ISCB, one of its founding members, former vice-president, and since 2015, one of the "Fellows" of the Society. Professor Lengauer will hold the office of president for three years, followed by a year as immediate past-president.
 

Questions can be directed to:
Bertram Somieski
Max-Planck-Institut for Informatics
Tel +49.681.9325-5710 – somieski@mpi-inf.mpg.de

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