Nature Methods special issue

Our goal in this special issue of Nature Methods was to create a practical resource giving biologists an overview of current computational methods and tools used for visualizing biological data. The issue consists of five commissioned reviews - covering visualization of genomes, alignments & phylogenies, macromolecular structures, image data, and systems biology data - plus a commentary article summarizing key challenges and perspectives in visualizing biological data.

VIZBI conference series

Data visualization is increasingly important in life science as data grows in volume and complexity. In 2010 we launched VIZBI, an international conference series on 'Visualizing Biological Data', bringing together researchers using visualization to study genomes, transcripts, proteins, cells, organisms, and populations. VIZBI reviews the state of the art and highlights future challenges - it is held annually in March, alternating between Europe and the USA, and is funded by EMBO and NIH to run until at least 2016.

VIZBI videos and posters

To ensure that the broader community of life scientists can benefit from VIZBI, the talks from 2010 and 2011 are freely available on video, as are many of the slides used by the speakers. In addition, the posters from 2010 and 2011 are also available.

ISMB Killer App Award

At ISMB 2010, a group of us initiated the first ‘Killer App Award’ to recognize excellence in creating new tools or systems that are of direct, practical benefit to experimental life scientists. The second ‘Killer App Award’ at ISMB 2011 was very popular, and the Award is set to become a regular ISMB tradition.

ISMB party series

ISMB is a serious, world-class scientific meeting of around 2,000 bioinformaticians - we certainly don't need to have wild, fun parties: but then again, why not?! Since 2008 I have been leading a series of ISMB parties - for many participants, this large, annual social event is the highlight of the conference, and it has now become an ISMB tradition.

Aquaria: insight from structures

Aquaria is a new, free web resource for biologists that simplifies the process of gaining insight from protein structures. For any protein sequence, Aquaria shows all related structures; with one click the sequence can be mapped onto the structure; one more click and the structure is colored by features, e.g., domains, SNPs, or posttranslational modification sites. See our article in Nature Methods.

Reflect augmented browsing tool

Reflect is a free service that tags gene, protein, and small molecule names in any web page within a few seconds; clicking on a tag opens a popup with detailed information. It can be used with any browser, or via an API. See our webinar and our articles in Nature Biotechnology & J. Web Semantics. Reflect was developed at EMBL and the University of Copenhagen.

Elsevier Grand Challenge

Reflect was first-prize winner out of over 70 submissions in the Elsevier Grand Challenge, an international competition for systems that improve the way scientific information is communicated and used. Reflect has now been adopted by Cell Press and ScienceDirect, and has used by many life scientists to analyze seven million documents in the past year.

Martini gene-set analysis tool

Martini is a free, easy-to-use tool for characterizing differences between two sets of genes. Martini differs from comparible tools in that it is based on keywords extracted from Medline abstracts and it supports a much wider range of species; testing it against several similar tools using several benchmarks, it was generally more detailed, precise, and accurate. See our article in Nucleic Acid Research; Martini was developed at EMBL.

Premature aging & Rb protein

Progeria is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a mutation in Lamin A, a protein integral to the nuclear membrane. In a recent article in PLoS ONE, we analyzed global gene expression changes in people with Progeria and found that the protein Rb is a key factor in Progeria, and that targetting this protein may help premature aging. This was a collaboration with the Djabali lab at Columbia University, NY.

Coming Soon

30 August 2017
Opening keynote on 'Making Sense of Big Data in the Age of - Omics Research' at the SBS Research Committee Symposium - BIG DATA, Kenneth Myer Auditorium, Melbourne, Australia.
25 October 2017
Speaker at the Scientific Visualization Workshop, New York, USA.
28–30 March 2018
The annual conference on Visualising Biological Data (VIZBI 2018) is back at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge MA, USA.


20 July 2017
The dark proteome database by N. Perdigão, A. C. Rosa and S. I. O’Donoghue; Published in BioData Mining, 20 July 2017.
27 June 2017
Data visualisation isn't just for communication, it's also a research tool by Seán I. O’Donoghue and James Procter published in The Conversation, 27 June 2017.
14–16 June 2017
VIZBI 2017, the 8th international meeting on Visualizing Biological Data at the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia.
15 June 2017
SnapShot: Phosphoregulation of mitosis biological data by Andrew Burgess, Jenny Vuong, Samuel Rogers, Marcos Malumbres, Seán I. O’Donoghue published in Cell, 15 June 2017.
13 June 2017
3rd event on Data Visualisation Masterclass at the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia.
12 June 2017
Inverview on Biological Data at ABC National Television.
6 June 2017
Keynote talk on BioData Visualization at the Defence Science and technology DSTrupt Day, Sydney, Australia.