Author Archive

Keynote Speaker: Janet Iwasa

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Prof. Janet Iwasa is a data visualization expert and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah, renowned for her contributions to molecular and cellular visualizations. She and her team use animation to illustrate the molecular mechanisms behind biological processes and disease. Her work has been featured in numerous scientific journals including Nature, Science, and Cell, as well as the New York Times. Janet Iwasa has worked on biological visualizations as a Faculty Member at Harvard Medical School, and has also been honored as a TED Senior Fellow.

Keynote Speaker: Hadley Wickham

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Prof. Hadley Wickham is a Chief Scientist at RStudio, and an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at the University of Auckland, Stanford University, and Rice University. He builds tools (computational and cognitive) that make data science easier, faster, and more fun. He is best known for his development of open-source statistical analysis software packages for R that implement logics of data visualization and data transformation. His packages and writing are known for advocating a tidy data approach to data import, analysis and modelling methods.

VIZBI 2019 Keynotes and Plenary Speakers

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

We are pleased to announce the complete speaker lineup for VIZBI 2019. These world-leading researchers will showcase visualizations transforming how life scientists view data.

Keynotes: Hadley WickhamJanet IwasaMortiz Stefaner.

DNA: Andy YatesKay NieseltPhillippe Collas.

RNA: Charlotte SonesonIrmtraud MeyerWolfgang Huber.

Proteins: Marc BaadenDavid SehnalPeijun Zhang.

Cellular Systems: Lucy CollinsonJurgen CoxLoic Royer.

Tissues & Organisms: Dogu TeberScott Waddell.

Populations & Ecosystems: Jessica-Xin HuStephen Leslie.

Autodesk Art & Biology Award

Friday, December 14th, 2018

In 2019, VIZBI will return to Heidelberg. As in previous years, we are happy to announce the Art & Biology Award! We are looking for the most visually compelling and artistically-inspired image to be featured at the VIZBI poster gallery. Each VIZBI 2019 participant is eligible in contributing to this challenge. Submitted images may be part of a research project, a visual sketch describing future perspectives, or renderings for posters – there are many possibilities! The winner will receive a three-year subscription to Autodesk Maya (valued at $4,410 USD). Maya is widely used for creating interactive 3D applications, video games, animated film, TV series, and visual effects. This generous prize is offered to participants from academics and industry alike, but cannot be resold. The Art & Biology entries will be presented in the conference during the Art & Biology evening on Thursday 14th March. The winner will be announced on 15th March during the closing session. For details see the VIZBI 2019 poster page. The deadline for upload is February 27 at 23:00 PST.

EMBL Corporate Partnership Program Fellowships – Deadline approaching!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

The deadline for applications for EMBL Corporate Partnership Program Fellowships is fast approaching on 14 December.

To apply, you must first create an account with the EMBL registration system, then submit an abstract (250 words max.) for the poster you will present, and provide answers to all other questions in the application form.

To submit the fellowship application, please use the Fellowship Application Link. You will be able to edit your registration details and abstract until the closing of the fellowship submissions (14 December 2018).

EMBL Corporate Partnership Programme Fellowships

Friday, November 16th, 2018

A limited number of fellowships are available to eligible students and researchers. To apply, you must first create an account with the EMBL registration system, then submit an abstract (250 words max.) for the poster you will present, and provide answers to all other questions in the application form.

To submit a fellowship application, please use the Fellowship Application Link. You will be able to edit your registration details and abstract until the closing of the fellowship submissions (14 December 2018).

VIZBI 2019 Registration now open

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

VIZBI 2019 will take place March 13-15 at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany. The 2019 meeting marks the 10th Anniversary of VIZBI, and features 21 invited talks, posters and lightning talks from participants. If you are interested in sponsorship, a range of sponsorship options are also available.

The EMBO Workshop on Visualising Biological Data (VIZBI 2019) program is now online

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

The program for the EMBO Workshop on Visualising Biological Data (VIZBI 2019) is now available. The meeting takes place March 13-15 at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany, and marks the 10th Anniversary of VIZBI. The 2019 meeting features keynotes from Hadley Wickham, Janet Iwasa, and Moritz Stefaner plus talks from 18 leading researchers, reviewing how data visualization is transforming life science research.

New paper in Annual Review of Biomedical Data

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Our team have published a review entitled “Visualization of Biomedical Data.’ In this review, we summarize key principles and resources for data visualization, that help to address today’s challenges in communication and clinical practice. We also outline the ongoing initiatives aimed at improving visualization practices in biomedical research. These include development of new tools, peer-to-peer learning, and interdisciplinary collaboration between computer scientists, science communicators, and graphic designers. Such changes in visualisation methods are completely revolutionizing the way that we see and think about our data.

Read the full review here.


VIZBI 2019: Save the Date

Monday, June 25th, 2018

We are excited to announce that the next EMBO Workshop on ‘Visualizing Biological Data’ (VIZBI 2019) will take place from 13-15 March 2019.

This will be the 10th annual international meeting on this topic and, appropriately, will take place where VIZBI began – at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany.

We plan to celebrate our 10th anniversary with several special activities, including talks from previous speakers, where they will share perspectives on how visualization has evolved over the past decade to drive advancements in their fields.

We hope you can join us for this special event. In the meantime, please mark the VIZBI 2019 dates in your calendars!

Winner of Best Scientific Poster Award 2018

Friday, April 6th, 2018

The award for Best Scientific Poster at VIZBI 2018 was won by ‘Visual Storytelling in Mechanobiology‘, a collaborative work by Diego Pitta de Araujo, Steven Wolf, Andrew Wong, Sruti Jagannathan, Wei Ting Melanie Lee, Lakshmi Ramachandran, Kyaw Tun, Jean-Francois Rupprecht, and Michael Sheetz. The team are based at the National University of Singapore and also at Columbia University, USA. Congratulations to the team – they receive a one-year subscription to Clarafi, a scientific visualisation portal offering high quality video training, resources, and tools to support those interested in improving their skills.

A01 poster

Winner of best Art & Biology submission

Friday, April 6th, 2018

This year, the prize for best Art and Biology submission went to Kyle McClary and Trisha Williams (The Bridge Institute at USC, USA) for their artwork ‘The World in a Cell‘. This work questions what we can learn about the human cell by analogy to complex urban systems, and how we might rethink the future of cities by studying cells. The Association of Medical Illustrators has awarded a 5 minute speaking slot at their Annual Conference in Boston this June, with special discount registration. artand bio

VIZBI 2018 scientific posters

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Scientific posters for VIZBI 2018 are now online at


Richard Smith: Visualization of tissue morphodynamics

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Richard_SmithThis Friday in the VIZBI 2018 session on Tissues & Organisms, Richard Smith from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, will speak about visualization of morphogenesis processes. The aim of his work is to achieve full 3D quantification of cell shape and gene expression, with changes over time. Due to the challenges in obtaining this, MorphoGraphX was developed to process the images. He will present examples using this software on plant organs, and inroads towards developing an integrated environment for computational morphodynamics on surfaces. Further information on Richard’s talk is available at

warren smith

Sameer Velankar: Structure databases

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018


In the Proteins session of VIZBI 2018 next week, Sameer Velankar from European Bioinformatics Institute (UK) will speak about how rapid advances in structure determination techniques are transforming structural biology, elucidating a range of biological processes at a molecular level. To help expert and non-expert wwPDB users, these data are integrated in visualisation. Sameer will describe these approaches using images and interactive tools. Further information on Sameer’s talk is available at

sameer velankar

Marcin Imielinski: Navigating and mining cancer graph genomes

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Marcin_Imielinski Next week, as part of the VIZBI 2018 session on DNA, Marcin Imielinski from New York Genome Centre (USA), will speak about structural DNA variants that drive cancer progression and render tumors sensitive to drugs. A key obstacle for understanding is difficulty in seeing beyond shreds of sequence in our genome. Marcin will review state of the art approaches in understanding, introducing the paradigm of a cancer graph genome to detect recurrent mutational signatures. Further information on Marcin’s talk is available at


Daniel Janies: Visual analytics of superbugs

Monday, March 26th, 2018


In the VIZBI 2018 session on Populations next week, Daniel Janies from University of North Carolina at Charlotte (USA) will speak about Multidrug resistant bacteria (“Superbugs”). Genomic sequencing labs collect genetic data on bacterial pathogens called Genome Trakr, to scan for genes that confer antibiotic resistance. Dan will discuss tools and cases from his work that apply visual analytics to this. Further information on Dan’s talk is available at


James Michaelson: Micro CT in surgical specimens

Monday, March 26th, 2018


In next week’s session on Tissues at VIZBI 2018, James Michaelson from Massachusetts General Hospital (USA) will speak about how Micro CT may be used to provide high-resolution 3D images in biology and surgery. Micro CT has allowed many specimens to be shared and viewed (see example), opening up new possibilities, in particular in cancer surgery. James demonstrates that Micro CT can provide useful 3D images, including identifying positive breast cancer patients in 10 minutes. Further information on James’s talk is available

James Michaelson

John “Scooter” Morris: Visualizing systems biology

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Scooter (small)

Next Thursday during the VIZBI 2018 session on Cellular Systems, John “Scooter” Morris from University of California (USA), will speak about systems biology and recording the state of cells using high-throughput techniques. His talk will include will include examples of exploratory visualization techniques and will end with an exploratory approach to a complicated visualization challenge. Further information is available at

Aaron Wong: Visualising functional genomics data

Sunday, March 25th, 2018


Next Wednesday during the VIZBI 2018 session on DNA, Aaron Wong from Flatiron Institute (USA), will speak about current approaches and challenges in visualizing and interrogating large-scale functional genomics data. He will present current research on genome-scale tissue-specific functional networks and will describe how these tools are leveraged to interpret function of disease genes. Further information about Aaron’s talk is available at