The joint meeting of the South African Genetics Society and Southern African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology was hosted by the Department of Genetics, Stellenbosch University from 10-12 September 2012 at the University Conserve. The theme of the conference was “The data mining revolution”.
From Left to right: Fourie Joubert, UP (co-chair of organising committee), Rouvay Roodt-Wilding (SU, co-chair of organising committee), Zander Myburg (President South African Genetics Society), Ozlem Tastan Bishop (Rhodes University, President of the South African Society for bioinformatics), Dave Clements (Emory University, plenary speaker), Eugene Cloete (SU, Vice Rector Research and Innovation), Rainier Borriss (ABiTEP CmbH, Germany, plenary speaker), Derek Hanekom (Deputy Minister, Department of Science and Technology) and Anil Malhotra (Zucker Hilside Hospital, New York, plenary speaker).
The conference was opened by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom as well as the Dean of Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University, Prof Eugene Cloete that highlighted the potential of Genetics, Bioinformatics and the integration of these two disciplines to profoundly deepen our understanding of biological systems and the application therefore in the fields of agriculture, medicine, conservation and sustainable development and biotechnology as a whole.
The conference comprised of 66 oral presentations and 80 poster presentations. This included five internationally renowned plenary lecturers in the field of human genetics, phylogenetics, plant genomics and computational biology: Anil Malhotra, Zucker Hillside Hospital, New York; Judith Masters, African Primate Initiative for Ecology and Speciation, University of Fort Hare; Rainier Borriss, ABiTEP CmbH, Berlin; Dario Grattapaglia, EMBRAPA Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Estação Parque Biológico, Brasilia, and Dave Clements, Emory University, Atlanta
The meeting took place as a dedicated day of genetics presentations, an overlapping day with parallel tracks, and a dedicated day of bioinformatics presentations. The main conference was preceded by a set of bioinformatics workshops dealing with high-throughput workflows in bioinformatics, and was followed by a next-generation sequencing user group meeting, once again bringing together the experimental and computational communities.
With a strong emphasis on student participation at these conferences the Societies also made prizes available for the best PhD and MSc oral and poster presentations. The Department of Genetics at Stellenbosch University is extremely proud of PhD students Thia Schultz and Marius Snyman that won the best Phd oral and poster presentation awards, respectively. Thia is finalising her PhD on Russian wheat aphid resistance in wheat and Marius is finalising his studies on phytoplasma infection in grapevine.
At this meeting Prof Rouvay Roodt-Wilding (co-chair of the organising committee of this conference) was also elected as new President of the South African Genetics Society for 2012-2014.
Posted on 12-10-2012 by WCB and written by RRW