Thursday, April 21, 2016

Type 2 Diabetes Knowledge Portal represented at Biocuration 2016 conference

Last week, the International Society for Biocuration held its 9th annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland. You might ask, “What is biocuration, anyway?” In a nutshell, it’s all about organizing biological data and making it accessible and understandable. It can be as small-scale as capturing the fine details about the function and role of a particular protein, or as large-scale as designing interfaces to analyze and explore genomes or huge genomic data sets. (See this article if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details about what it’s like to be a biocurator.) The conference covered major topics in biocuration such as the visualization and integration of data, controlled vocabularies and ontologies, functional annotation, community curation, text mining, and more.

Our Manager of Content and Community attended the conference, since many of these issues are relevant to the T2D Knowledge Portal. As we tackle a relatively new challenge in biocuration—the integration of human genetic association data sets—it’s important for our project to be part of the biocuration community, to get feedback and become aware of others’ work in this area. And as we consider adding more biological information about human genes to the Portal, it’s important that whatever we do is consistent with ongoing efforts in the biocuration of human genes; we don’t want to reinvent the wheel or duplicate work.

Besides getting to attend a fascinating and energizing conference in a beautiful setting, the icing on the cake was that our poster on the Portal received one of five “Best poster” awards! We’re honored and pleased that our project had such a warm welcome into the biocuration community.

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