Anna Cichonska · Fri, 30.12.2016
During December 4-6, 2016, I attended the second Target Validation Using Genomics and Informatics conference organized by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. I presented a poster on predictive modeling of binding affinities between chemical compounds and protein targets for drug discovery and repurposing applications, the work which is a part of my PhD thesis.
My research is focused on developing new computational approaches for identifying associations between genomes and health-related traits, as well as predictive modeling of drug-target interactions. I wanted to attend the conference because of its high relevance to my PhD project. The event brought together researchers based in both academia and industry, thus creating a unique environment for discussing the opportunities and challenges for the use of genomics in drug discovery. The presentations covered the contribution of molecular biology techniques and computational methods to the development of new therapeutic strategies. It was especially interesting for me to hear personal perspectives of Tony Wood from Pfizer on the translational challenges facing drug discovery in the next decade, as well as a talk by Manuel Rivas from Stanford University introducing a statistical framework for rare variant association studies that could improve the generation of effective therapeutic hypothesis. I also learned about some new data platforms that I could use in my research.
Overall, I truly enjoyed the conference program, networking with other participants and a lovely Christmas market held in Heidelberg.