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The BioHackathon 2018 in Matsue

December 9Ė15, 2018

National Bioscience Database Center (NBDC)

The National Bioscience Database Center (NBDC) and the Database Center for Life Science (DBCLS) held the BioHackathon 2018 from 9th to 15th December 2018, in Matsue, Shimane, Japan. The BioHackathon is a camp style forum, where researchers from all over the world gather to exchange information and engage in technological developments, aiming to establish technological infrastructure to integrate the fields of life sciences and biomedical databases. The 11th BioHackathon, which focused on utilization of Linked Data for medical application, useful substance production and breeding, drew about 130 people from 15 countries, the largest number of participants in its history.

At the symposium on the first day, overviews of developing databases and plans for advanced functions were presented by researchers. In the morning session of the second day, participants collectively made a list of topics to be covered during this BioHackathon, and formed groups around each topic according to their field of interests. As soon as members got seated by groups, they began discussions and developmental work. Groups, usually having engaged in their research and development through exchanging emails, also felt the benefits of face to face communication through collaborating activities and sharing information with peers. For a refreshing atmosphere, some groups moved their work places to the lobby of the hotel with a great view of the Lake Shinji.

A new program that started this year was poster presentations by students. Ten students of the National Institute of Technology, Matsue College and three students who are members of a medical science and medical treatment program* operated by Keio University made presentations in English. Although in some instances, they struggled to explain and answer the questions in English, they enjoyed this precious experience saying, “the researchers seriously listened to our presentation and we also got advice from them.”

The last day, the discussion focused on writing papers about the outcomes of the hackathon aiming for publishing. Finally, the fruitful week in Matsue ended.

After the event, we were pleased hearing comments from participants such as: “Our development was further advanced in this wonderful environment” ; “I was glad to find my mistake in how to proceed through conversation with other researchers of the joint research” ; and “Even if there was a problem, it was convenient because I could find various experts only by looking through the venue.”

More information about BioHackathon 2018: http://2018.biohackathon.org/

*Funded by the Global Science Campus, one of the JSTís science education programs.

JST, an integrated organization of science and technology in Japan, establishes an infrastructure for the entire process from the creation of knowledge to the return to the society. For more information, visit http://www.jst.go.jp/EN/