Eric Lander’s opening remarks elegantly articulated the urgent need for an increased focus on data visualization in biological research, and, from the strong positive feedback, it’s clear that VIZBI helps address this need. The first VIZBI meeting was an experiment – it was not certain if this very diverse group would want, need, or be able to effectively communicate, let alone collaborate. However it is now clear the experiment is a success: the two meetings so far have already led to many fruitful collaborations and outcomes. Personally, I was also surprised to see that a large number of participants from 2010 came again in 2011, including many from Europe and even more remote places like Australia: clearly VIZBI has already begun to form a community, and indeed many people suggested that the website evolves to support this. Thus, the need to continue VIZBI is clear: now, what about the means to do so?
Here, I am delighted to report good news: EMBO recently accepted our application to start a VIZBI conference series at EMBL, Heidelberg. Together with the NIH grant awarded last year for a VIZBI conference series at the Broad Institute, we now have funds to run VIZBI annually – alternating between Europe and the USA – until at least 2016. We are now enlarging the organizing team and improving aspects of the meeting, especially the website. We are also finalizing the program for VIZBI 2012, which will be held 6-8 March 2012 at the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. As with previous years, VIZBI 2012 will have outstanding speakers, and will give all participants the opportunity to present their work via the fast-forward and poster sessions. For some, traveling to Heidelberg is difficult, so we plan to offer virtual participation via streaming video and chat. We will announce the detailed VIZBI 2012 program in August. Until then, together with the 2012 organizing team, I look forward to meeting many of you again in Heidelberg, 6-8 March 2012.