IICD Awards at WCB

Lorenza Favrot
July 30, 2021

The Workshop for Computational Biology (WCB) is part of the larger International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML). Originally initiated in 2016 by Elham Azizi, Herbert & Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cancer Data Research, Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics and Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Sandhya Prabhakaran, Applied Research Scientist at the Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department (Moffit Cancer Center), WCB has been part of ICML every year since. The workshop aims to showcase how recent advances in machine learning and computation can be applied to biological questions and address the large complex datasets generated in multi-omics, cancer biology, or drug discovery for instance. Promoting interdisciplinary research, WCB connects machine learning researchers spanning a wide range of specialties, including computational genomics, neuroscience, metabolomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, cheminformatics, pathology, radiology, evolutionary biology, population genomics, phenomics, ecology, cancer biology, causality, etc.

This year, WCB was held virtually on July 24th, 2021. The workshop featured invited talks by Mathieu Blanchette (Associate Professor and Director of School of Computer Science at McGill University), Quaid Morris (Group Leader at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center), Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb (Professor of Applied Mathematics and Head of the Cambridge Image Analysis Group at the University of Cambridge) and Kristin Swanson (Vasak and Anna Maria Polak Professor in Cancer Research and Vice-Chair of Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic). A 41-members Program Committee selected 67 submissions, resulting into 4 contributed talks, 7 highlights of published work, 10 spotlights, and 3 poster sessions including a total of 29 posters.  The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Columbia Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics, Python Software Foundation, Moffitt Cancer Center and JetBrains sponsored 4 Best Paper Awards, 3 Best Posters Awards and 45 Diversity Fellowships overall.

Herbert and Florence Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics Contributed-Talk Awardees: Berk Alpay (left) and Khalil Ouardini (right)

In particular, the Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics sponsored two Contributed Talk Awards (selected among the Best Papers) and funded twenty Diversity Fellowships. The Herbert and Florence Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics Contributed-Talk Awards were presented to Berk Alpay (PhD student in the Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology PhD program at Harvard University) for the paper titled “Bayesian Mutation-Selection Model of Evolutionary Constraints on Coding Sequences” and Khalil Ouardini (visiting researcher at UC Berkeley) for the paper titled “Reconstructing Unobserved Cellular States from Paired Single-Cell Lineage Tracing and Transcriptomics Data”.