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UK Conference of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology 2020

Bringing together researchers, software developers and data managers working across the life sciences to share ideas, discoveries, tools and best practice in computational methods.

Start date:

29 September 2020

End date:

30 September 2020


Online (via Zoom)

Registration deadline:

27 September 2020



About the conference.

UK Conference of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology logo

The UK-CBCB conference is designed to bring together biologists, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, software engineers and data scientists across the life sciences to share innovations, applications and best practice in their fields.

The conference will be applicable to bioinformatics researchers working on core services or in research teams as well as computer scientists or bioinformaticians developing tools or maintaining data resources.

We are delighted to have confirmed the following sessions:

Structural Bioinformatics - analysis and prediction of three-dimensional molecular structures

Metagenomics and Microbial Bioinformatics - the diversity and complexity of microbial genomes and identification in environmental samples

Single-Cell Genomics - using omics technologies to provide greater resolution at the cellular level and improve understanding of cell responses in their microenvironment

Data Management - approaches for validation, storage and protection of data under the FAIR principles

Bridging Genotype to Phenotype - computational approaches to deciphering the complex interactions between genotype and environment and how these affect phenotype

Computational Proteomics and Metabolomics - harnessing large-scale studies to determine protein and metabolite function for the discovery of biomarkers

This conference is supported by the ELIXIR-UK community.


Day 1 Tuesday 29 September

10.00 - 10.15 Welcome from EI Director, Prof Neil Hall

10.15 - 11.15

Session 1: Data Management chaired by Carole Goble

Finding, Harmonising and Using Health Data for Research by Tim Beck

FAIRPlus, tools and guidelines for making life science data FAIR by Susanna-Assunta Sansone

11.15 - 11.30 Break

11.30 - 12.30

Session 2: Metagenomics and Microbial Genomics chaired by Mick Watson

Majora: Continuous integration supporting decentralised sequencing for national SARS-CoV-2 surveillance by Sam Nicholls

Linking gut microbial changes to disease using multiomics data - Melanie Schirmer

12.30 - 14.00 Break

14.00 - 15.00

Session 3: Computational Proteomics and Metabolomics chaired by Ralf Weber

The spatial organisation of the proteome - Kathryn Lilley

Towards solving the grand challenges of computational metabolomics - Timothy Ebbels

Day 2 Wednesday 30 September

10.00 - 11.00

Session 4: Bridging Genotype to Phenotype chaired by Chris Rawlings

Automating Science using Robot Scientists by Ross King

Explainable AI guides integrative biomarker discovery - Laura-Jayne Gardiner

11.00 - 11.15 Break

11.15 - 12.15 Session 5: Structural Bioinformatics chaired by Christine Orengo

Structure-Focussed Tools for the Development of Therapeutic Antibodies from Natural Immunoglobulins by Charlotte Deane

Using machine learning to predict protein structure and function by David Jones

12.15 - 14.00 Break

14.00 - 15.00

Session 6: SIngle Cell Genomics chaired by Wilfred Haerty

From populations of cells to people: robustly quantifying cellular heterogeneity using single cell RNA sequencing data by Catalina Vallejos

A quantitative genetics view of gene expression noise by Michael Morgan

15.00 - 15.15 Final Remarks by Prof Carole Goble

Invited speakers.

Talk details.


Genomic epidemiology has become an increasingly common tool in epidemic response. Recent technological advances have made it possible to sequence genomes faster and at a lower cost than ever before, especially benefiting the sequencing of short viral genomes. With the availability of DNA sequencing technology becoming more commonplace in small regional laboratories and academic settings, there is potential for a highly agile network of diverse sequencing centres to collaborate on the sequencing and analysis of genomic data, ensuring that genome data can be generated in short timescales that can help to inform epidemic control measures.

In response to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the United Kingdom, the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium has been founded. The goal of the consortium is to join a network of academic institutes, regional sequencing centres, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the four UK Public Health Agencies to sequence SARS-CoV-2 genomes as part of a national scale genomic surveillance strategy.

We developed and deployed an encompassing digital infrastructure to address the challenge of collecting and integrating both genomic sequencing data and sample-associated metadata produced across a diverse network of sampling and sequencing sites. The system was pragmatically designed and implemented to stand up capacity rapidly in an emerging infectious disease pandemic and has now processed over fifty thousand SARS-CoV-2 sequences.


Antibodies are important proteins of the immune system. Mammals are able to efficiently create vast numbers of antibodies with different sequences capable of binding with high affinity and specificity to almost any antigen due to these properties they have been used successfully as therapeutics, for many disease targets.

Our group has worked to develop a set of databases and tools to exploit the sequence and structure data available for antibodies to build a better understanding of the immune system and aid in the development of biotherapeutics. Our focus is to move from a sequence based view of the system that is common in the area of immunoinformatics to a structure based one.

To this end we have built the structural antibody database (SAbDab) and the computational antibody prediction toolset SAbPred for modelling and designing antibodies. These tools are then used to enrich the available sequence data in our Observed Antibody Space (OAS) a database of over a billion antibody sequences, Thera-SAbDab, a collection of all antibody and nanobody-related therapeutics recognized by the World Health Organisation and most recently CoV-AbDab, an annotated database of all known antibody and nanobody binders to betacoronoviruses.

I will describe how bringing together the huge availability of sequence data alongside structural data and prediction tools has allowed us to develop insights into the natural immune repertoire, response of the repertoire to vaccines and the development of antibody therapeutics.

Have any questions?

We'll be happy to support you however you need, just get in touch with our organising team.

EI Training & Events Team, training@earlham.ac.uk