Call for Abstracts/Papers, Fourth Summit on Systems Biology, June 15-17, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Summit on Systems Biology 2011

Molecular Networks and Disease

June 15-17, 2011 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia

The overarching goal of this summit is to bring together key individuals applying systems approaches to research in molecular medicine and its application to the diagnosis or treatment of disease and to encourage discussion and interaction among attendees. Sometimes also called personalized medicine, this emerging field is beginning to yield the first fruits of the knowledge of the human genome. The broader goal is also to advance the knowledge of the power of systems biology in basic biomedical research as well as clinical and translational science.

The program consists of the following five sessions with a poster session and additional interactive session on systems vaccinology.

Session I – Network Biology in Oncology & Cancer – Basic & Translational Research

Session Chair – Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D. – Director, Institute of Molecular Medicine, VCU School of Medicine

Summary – Advances in molecular biology culminating in the sequencing of entire genomes have highlighted the complexity of the integrated genetic information characterizing different organisms, including humans. The emerging area of systems biology represents a whole-istic approach to comprehending biology and understanding biological systems as a system, rather than an assembly of independent components. Research is focused on integrating the biological knowledge and to understand how molecules act together within the network of interaction that makes up life. When these systems go awry a negative consequence is cancer. This session focuses on key areas in oncology and cancer including molecular network mapping, small non-coding RNAs, protein-protein interactions leading to targeted therapies, genetic approaches to identify critical cancer regulating genes and application of accrued genetic knowledge in the management of cancer.

Speakers Include – 

Ronald A. DePinho, M.D.
Professor of Medicine,
Harvard Medical School
Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Plenary Lecture: “Understanding and Managing Cancer”


Lance A. Liotta, M.D., Ph.D.
Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine
George Mason University
“Development and Implementation of Molecular Network Mapping at the Bedside: Realizing the Promise of Personalized Therapy Today”


George A. Calin, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Department of Experimental Therapeutics
Division of Cancer Medicine
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
“A Non-Coding RNA Revolution in the Cancer Society”


Prahlad T. Ram, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Department of Systems Biology
Division of Cancer Medicine
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
“Understanding and Targeting Networks in Breast Cancer via the Integration of Functional Proteomics and Genomics with Computational Models”


Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair,
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics
Institute of Molecular Medicine,
Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine
“Applications of Subtraction Hybridization to Define Critical Genes Involved in Regulating Cancer Survival: From Bench to the Bedside”

Session II – Networks and Genomics in the Neurobiology of Behavior

Session Chair –  Michael Miles, M.D., Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology – VCU School of Medicine

Summary – This session explores genetic factors associated with certain behavioral diseases such as alcoholism. Gene networks have been identified for a number of complex traits, and speakers in this session address both the research findings and the systems methodology used to ascertain the network patterns.

Speakers Include – 

Rob Williams, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
“Systems Neurogenetics: Simple Tools for Complex Problems”


Michael F. Miles, M.D., Ph.D.
VCU School of Medicine
“Of Mice and Monkeys: Identifying Brain Gene Networks Influencing Behavioral Responses to Alcohol”

Session III – Network Theory and Modeling in Predicting Disease Targets

Session Chair –  Michael Neale, Ph.D. – Professor, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric Genetics – VCU School of Medicine

Summary –  In developing models of disease causation, the application of network theory has provided useful insights into the genetic origins of disease. In this session, speakers will present recent findings on the gene networks and modeling methods currently used or being developed to explore the relationship between gene networks and disease.

Speakers Include – 

Conor V. Dolan, Ph.D
University of Amsterdam
“A Network Perspective on Latent Variables”


Steve M. Boker, Ph.D.
University of Virginia
“Coupled Dynamical Systems Models of Ovarian Hormones and Disordered Eating”


Steve Horvath, Ph.D.
Human Genetics and Biostatistics
“Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis Applied to Complex Diseases”

Session IV – Systems Approaches to Aging

Session Chair –  Tarynn Witten, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Center for the Study of Biological Complexity – Virginia Commonwealth University

Summary –  By the year 2030, it is estimated that over 50% of the US population will be 65 years old and older. Understanding the biological dynamics of aging and how to best treat the elderly, who are at increased risk of cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary events, diabetes, decreased oral health, osteoporosis, and numerous other age-related conditions will be essential within the next few decades if we are to provide better healthcare for this growing population. In this session we examine the problem of understanding how to find genes and systems of genes that are related to survival/longevity and how we then understand potential interrelationships between those genes and other important genes. We ask the question, to what extent can we glue the pieces of longevity control back together to understand the dynamics of the aging process.

Speakers Include – 

Bruce Carnes, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
“Aging: A Biological and Modeling Challenge”


S. Michal Jazwinski, Ph.D.
Tulane University School of Medicine
“Metabolic Signals and Cell Responses in Yeast Aging.”


Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D.
University of Washington, Seattle
“Genome-wide Analysis of Aging and the Response to Dietary Restriction”


Andres Kriete, Ph.D.
Drexel University
“Assembling a Whole Cell Systems Model of Aging”

Poster Session (for participating faculty and students)

A collaboration event for all!

All researchers in these and related fields, faculty, post doctoral and graduate students are invited to submit an abstract to be accepted for a podium presentation during one of the regular sessions, or a poster presentation on Thursday evening. A reception with gourmet hors d’oeuvres will be held in the elegant Jefferson Hotel in concert with the poster session to foster collaboration among the attending research community. Prepare your abstracts now to participate in this stimulating research event. Women and minority scientists are especially invited to submit abstracts.

Session V – High–Throughput Enabling Technologies

Session Chair –  Zhongming Zhao, Ph.D. – Chief Bioinformatics Officer – Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University

Summary –  It is now ten years since the human genome project was drafted, yet we are still asking how genomes will benefit health care for the general public. The recent sequencing revolution has brought affordable personal genomes into practice in terms of cost and throughput. Advances in other technologies are now empowering advances in molecular medicine. This session focuses on the advanced technologies that have been the drivers for much of the development of the “omics” fields and now molecular medicine over the past decade. Next generation sequencing, combined with advances in array-based technologies, clinical proteomics, and prenatal testing are now bringing forth direct benefits to twenty-first century medicine, and offer the potential for significant cost savings in health care based on these innovative technologies.

Speakers Include – 

Michael Snyder, Ph.D.
Stanford University
“Personal and Non-Personal Genomes: Their Analysis and Variation”


Jun Wang, Ph.D.
Beijing Genomics Institute
“Personal Genomes are Personalized: High-Throughput Sequencing, a Key to Personalized Medicine”


Shawn Levy, Ph.D.
Hudson Alpha Institute of Biotechnology
“High-throughput Exome Sequencing to Analyze Complex Disease”


Zhongming Zhao, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University
“An Integrative Network and Pathway Analysis of Schizophrenia GWAS and RNA-Seq Data”

Plenary Session – Systems Vaccinology

Session Chair –  Patricio Manque, Ph.D. – Universidad Mayor

Speakers – To Be Announced

Venue – 

This 4th Summit on Systems Biology: Molecular Networks and Disease, June 15-17, 2011 will be held in Richmond, Virginia, located two hours south of Washington, D.C. just off Interstate 95, within easy reach of the Washington Metro area. Richmond, Virginia has many historic areas and is surrounded by scenic countryside, and is a 2 hour drive from Virginia Beach. The conference will be held at the Jefferson Hotel in historic Richmond. Opened in 1895, the Jefferson Hotel is one of only 22 hotels to carry both the Forbes Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond ratings. Plan your visit today!

Submit your abstracts today and register for the 4th Summit on Systems Biology: Molecular Networks and Disease via the links below.

Abstract Submission –

Deadline: April 10, 2011

Registration –

For program information contact:

Zhongming Zhao, Ph.D.
Program Chair
Chief Bioinformatics Officer,
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center,
Vanderbilt University

Gregory A. Buck, Ph.D.
Conference Chair
Center for the Study of Biological Complexity,
Virginia Commonwealth University

For general information contact:

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