Genomic/Proteomic/Metabolomic "Omics" approaches contribute increasingly to the systems-level interrogation of fundamental biological processes. In addition, live-cell imaging, quantitative microscopy, and the computational infrastructure allow for phenotypic analyses at unprecedented scales. The objectives of this conference is to (1) provide an opportunity for show-casing cutting-edge "Omics" scientific advances; (2) motivate the traditional molecular/cell biology, biochemistry and genetics community to embrace the "Omics" resources and to adopt an integrated systems approach to solve complex biological problems; and (3) foster opportunities for networking and establishing key collaborations. Keystone Symposia is a non-profit organization that offers an ideal setting for connecting interdisciplinary and international scientific communities.

Broader Impacts: This symposium will bring together the leading experts representing "Omics" technologies, cell biology, structural biology, chemistry, genetics, bioinformatics and computational biology to develop and discuss new strategies to maximize the impact the "Omics" revolution on the understanding of biological systems and processes. The organizers make a significant effort to showcase the work of students, postdoctoral fellows and young investigators and include women and minorities at the organizational level, as speakers and participants.

Project Report

Keystone Symposia’s meeting on "Omics Meets Cell Biology" provided a timely forum for exploring whether and how the classical approaches to studying biological processes – such as those used in cell biology, biochemistry and genetics – intersect (or can be made to intersect) with the new "OMICS" technologies. More specifically, this symposium placed a special emphasis on the interface between "OMICS"-level sciences as it is applied to and integrated with classical cell biological studies. Because these large-scale projects involve multidisciplinary teams that are situated in different institutions all over the world, this meeting provided a valuable opportunity for diverse research groups to get together and discuss new ideas, approaches, and novel results that will develop this unique interface. The general aim of this meeting was to develop and discuss new strategies to maximize the impact of results of the "OMICS" revolution on understanding of biological systems and processes. The specific objectives of this meeting were as follows: 1. Explore the current status of bridging "OMICS" and cell biology in general, and specifically, in selected areas of research. Particular consideration will be given to "OMICS" and cell signaling, "OMICS" and vesicular and trafficking and sub-cellular organization, "OMICS" and cell metabolism, and "OMICS" and DNA damage/cell cycle research. 2. Explore the current status of data generated by "OMICS" technologies with respect to their potential to support both high-throughput and traditional cell biology research. 3. Critically explore emerging "OMICS" technologies with respect to their real potential in cell biology research. 4. Provide an interactive forum to involve new investigators and highlight their discoveries. Plenary and short talks, poster sessions and unstructured informal discussions were all used to address key issues in this area. There were 168 total attendees at the meeting. Attendees were diverse with regard to gender, ethnicity, stage of career, and institutional affiliation. More specifically, ~35% of the meeting participants were female researchers, and ~2% of all attendees (or 8% of attendees who were US citizens or permanent residents) self-identified as scientists from under-represented minority groups. The meeting was also highly international, drawing 59% non-US attendees. Approximately 36% of attendees were students and postdoctoral fellows. The meeting provided ample opportunity for training and professional development. Plenary sessions included short talks drawn from submitted abstracts and many, if not most, of the presenters were students, postdoctoral trainees and newer investigators. A workshop on "Available Bioinformatic Resources for Cell Biologists" also consisted of short talks, providing additional opportunities for more junior participants to make presentations. Trainees and newer investigators were exposed to dozens of high-quality oral presentations by more senior investigators, who served as models for high-quality research and communication skills. In addition, three poster sessions provided venues for trainees and newer investigators to share their research and to discuss this research with more experienced investigators. Finally, the unstructured portions of the meetings and the retreat-like venue provided significant opportunities for productive informal interactions between trainees, newer investigators and more senior investigators. We assessed outcomes with regard to attendee perceptions of the quality and impact of this meeting through post-conference surveys sent via email. We received responses from 78 (46%) attendees. The survey results demonstrated that attendees felt that the meeting was of high quality and value. For example, 96% of exit survey respondents agreed that their scientific expectations for this meeting were met, 97% rated the scientific content as very good to excellent, and 95% of respondents agreed that presentations provided usable ideas and/or techniques. In summary, this symposium gathered the leading experts representing "OMICS" technologies, cell biology, structural biology, chemical-genetics, bioinformatics and computational biology to develop and discuss new strategies to maximize the impact of results from the "OMICS" revolution on the understanding of biological systems and processes. The data sets generated by "OMICS" technologies represent a unique resource for biologists. They have also raised a number of challenging technical and conceptual issues, the solutions to which will ultimately determine their impact on biology. These issues include the error models, completeness and reproducibility of large-scale data sets, and questions regarding how different data types obtained from the same and different systems can be integrated. This meeting also explored how to develop simple and robust methods for visualization of "OMICS" data, which will facilitate its integration and dissemination. This Keystone Symposia meeting provided a unique forum for scientists working in different areas of "OMICS" technologies to report and critically discuss the latest research findings, many unpublished, and to interact with other experts in the field. In addition, the meeting offered opportunities for career development for trainees and new investigators, including a forum for observing successful scientists presenting cutting-edge science and for networking with prospective mentors and others who might contribute to their scientific and professional development.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)
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Susanne von Bodman
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Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology
United States
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