BOSC 2022 Keynotes

Dr. Melissa Haendel

Melissa Haendel (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus)

Joint keynote, BOSC and Bio-Ontologies
The open data highway: turbo-boosting translational traffic with ontologies

Addressing complex scientific challenges requires a roadmap of data from diverse sources, organisms, contexts, formats, and granularities. Building a coherent holistic view of the data landscape to address any given problem is non-trivial. Often in the aggregation process, many of the original connections within the data are lost and it is difficult to make new (inferred) connections. Novel data integration strategies that leverage semantic technologies such as ontologies, knowledge graphs, and common modeling strategies can help span disciplinary boundaries. However, it takes the people too; robust interdisciplinary collaboration and improved data licensing and access can advance progress and innovation, turbo-boosting the open data highway.

Melissa Haendel is the Chief Research Informatics Officer and Marsico Chair in Data Science at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and the Director of the Center for Data to Health (CD2H). Her background is molecular genetics and developmental biology as well as translational informatics, with a focus over the past decade on open science and semantic engineering. Dr. Haendel’s vision is to weave together healthcare systems, basic science research, and patient-generated data through development of data-integration technologies and innovative data capture strategies. Dr. Haendel’s research has focused on integration of genotype-phenotype data to improve rare-disease diagnosis and mechanism discovery. She also leads and participates in international standards organizations to support improved data sharing and utility worldwide.

Jason Williams

Jason Williams (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

Riding the Bicycle — Including All Scientists on a Path to Excellence

Life science is rapidly increasing in interdisciplinarity, making career-spanning learning critical. New methods and deeper research questions requires scientists and educators to traverse widening skill gaps to remain competent. Short-format training (SFT) — including workshops, bootcamps, and short courses — is a solution many turn to. However, the effectiveness of SFT is lower than many realize. Overall, SFT is delivered without sufficient grounding in evidence-based pedagogy, and systemic inequity limits inclusion of all learners (see my recent Science paper about this).

I will describe the work of an international group of scientist-educators to develop a new construct — the “Bicycle Principles”. The Principles assemble education science and collective experience into a framework for improving SFT through two cyclic (hence bi-cycle) and iterative processes:

  • “Core Principles” (“Best Evidence”, “Catalytic”, Effective”, and “Inclusion”) apply to all SFT and are grounded in research and work in education, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • “Community Principles” (“Reaching”, “Scaling”, and “Sustaining”) apply when SFT is organized by groups to achieve the objectives of a community (e.g., science discipline, institution, career stage).

Community refinement, adoption, and adaptation of the Bicycle Principles will help accelerate scientific progress by making SFT more effective, inclusive, and career-spanning for all.

Jason Williams has worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since 2004, first at the bench in the Plant Science group and currently as an Assistant Director at the lab’s DNA Learning Center. Jason is on numerous Advisory Boards and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion committees for organizations including the Earth BioGenome Project, Data Dryad, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, BioData Catalyst, and ELIXIR UK. In 2020, he was chosen as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences, and won the NSF 2026 Idea Machine Competition.

Jason feels that helping scientists keep up with changing technology is one of the most important things we can do to accelerate research. He believes this can be sustainably achieved by building, supporting, and promoting the people who do this training – hence his founding of the group Life Science Trainers, a global community of practice for short-format training in the life sciences.