The joint CSHL / Wellcome Trust meeting on Genome Informatics is one of my favorite meetings, particularly because the presentations generally contain an excellent mix of cool biology and informatics. This year's meeting was no exception, and my session (Data Management, Mining & Curation), though likely among of the least biological in overall content, turned out very well. All of the talks were excellent, and I was happy to see an (unexpected) theme among many of them: putting more power in the hands of biologists without informatics support. For example:

  • Gos Micklem presented InterMine, which allows users to build their own data-warehouse with a powerful but user-friendly web interface that works "right out of the box".
  • Aleksandar Milosavljevic presented Genboree which provides a hosted solution, where users can manage their own data through the web, build their own custom genome browsers, and more
  • Istvan Albert presented a data management extension to GeneTrack providing integrated genomic data management and browsing, allowing the user can change the parameters defining how annotations are derived from raw data interactively in the browsing context.
  • I presented some recent work on analysis workflows and data management using Galaxy. Making sophisticated analysis tools accessible for experimentalists is our reason for existence (slides).

As biological research continues to become more data intensive, it is critical to make it possible for experimentalists to work with that data as intimately as possible. It was great to see all these different projects trying to make data management, analysis, and visualization more accessible.