3rd La Calestienne

Saturday, June 12th, 2010 by hinrich

La Calestienne

Since December 2008 I am running a project sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and the Belgian government (IWT 80536: Cell line based compound prioritization and response prediction). With this research project we try to look into linking gene expression data from whole genome arrays with information from diverse chemical compounds. Especially when trying to prioritize compounds that are active in a phenotypic screen (here we do not have activity in an assay that is linked to a single protein target, but rather activity that is linked to a property such as inhibiting cell proliferation), the lack of a well defined target makes it difficult to judge which compound to develop further.

The project involves a broad interdisciplinary team of scientists (IT specialists, molecular biologists, chemoinformaticians, statisticians, experts in machine learning, data analysts). To facilitate communication between all project members we meet every six months and broadly brainstorm on next steps and deliverables in a very nice location in the Belgian Ardennes (La Calestienne). The meeting is also important to educate each other and learn the characteristic terminologies and concepts of the different disciplines.

The past meeting once again demonstrated how important it is to make an effort to establish truly multidisciplinary teams and generate enthusiasm for the input of each other and the goal of the project. I am amazed how engaged every attendee of our workshop was. Having a total of 18 participants in a small but very intimate location has stimulated lots of discussions over the course of the three days.

We have decided to continue to meet beyond the end of the project in December 2010 as the La Calestienne meeting concept and it's participants made it again a very productive and inspiring workshop.

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