The 5th annual iHuman Forum, hosted by the iHuman Institute was successfully held at ShanghaiTech’s brand-new conference center on November 7-8th.
The theme of the forum was "Imaging across the scales & Modeling supercomputer." The goal was to bring together scholars in the area of imaging across the molecular, cellular, and human scale, as well as gather great minds in the area of supercomputer needs and discuss where the field needs to go to accomplish whole cell modeling and simulation. More than 400 representatives from leading academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies gathered at the two-day event to present and discuss cutting-edge progress in the field of imaging across the scales and life science modeling supercomputer. There were more than 20 speakers from Oxford University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Southern California, University of California at San Francisco, ShanghaiTech University, the Institute of Biophysics (CAS), Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (CAS), Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and other well-known Chinese and international institutions as well as representatives of Thermo Fisher, DE Shaw, Novumind and other international enterprises, were invited to attend. The presentations covered scientific fields such as structural biology, cell biology, chemical biology, computational biology, biophysics, and bio-imaging.
The opening ceremony was presided over by Professor Raymond Stevens, founding director of iHuman Institute. Professor Gong Jinkang, vice president of ShanghaiTech University, gave opening remarks, saying, “The iHuman Institute has achieved fruitful results in the past years, especially in the field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) research, and has contributed several high impact scientific publications.” These results show that there has been significant progress on the principal mission of iHuman Institute, innovation and cooperation, and it will play an important role in promoting future development. Professor Gong also mentioned that ShanghaiTech, as a high level, international and innovative university, will continue to support iHuman Institute’s cooperation with other global high-level research institutions.
The first day of the forum focused on multi-scale, multi-dimensional and multi-modal biological imaging and integrated biology. The invited speakers discussed key scientific issues in biology in different scales, such as molecule, cell, tissue and human body, respectively. In the afternoon's short reports, eight young students and postdoctoral fellows from the University of Southern California, the iHuman Institute, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM, CAS) and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), gave wonderful presentations on their work. In the posters area, participants were able to read more than 40 outstanding scientific research posters. Representatives of the GPCR Consortium presented awards for the winners of the Best Research Posters and Best Student/Postdoctoral Speakers.
The second day of the forum focused on how to integrate multi-scale and multi-mode data and whole cell simulations. Experts from the United States, UK, Italy, Uruguay and China gave fantastic academic reports in the following four directions - simulation of large complexes, the whole cell model, computational biology, and the supercomputer software/hardware designing for computational biology – and discussed and interacted with the audience. The final session of the forum was a 90-minute discussion chaired by Professor Andrej Sali, a distinguished professor at the iHuman Institute. Experts discussed eleven critical issues such as the purpose of the whole cell model, which kind of models, what kind of data, by what methods, etc. They actively gave their own suggestions regarding to these issues. In particular, the participants discussed the field of whole cell simulation, super computer and artificial intelligence as well as the future prospect of supercomputer in the field of life science in-depth. These discussions and recommendations will be consolidated into a white paper and released in the near future.
The iHuman Forum is an annual academic forum hosted by the iHuman Institute at ShanghaiTech University beginning in 2013. The 5thannual iHuman Forum was sponsored by ShanghaiTech University and local industrial partners and vendors. We are looking forward to another iHuman Forum next year.