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December 2020


DBC News is a monthly publication that seeks to inform first and foremost faculty members, researchers and students. It also reaches out to a wider community - Department of Computaional Biology partners, esteemed visiting faculty and friends.

Alongside the Department's website it is a complementary means of keeping abreast of the Department's rich and diversified scientific activities - visiting faculty, exceptional conferences, publications, awards, appointments, calls for papers and research, ...


The whole DBC extends the warmest of welcomes to new members.
Sofía Ortín Vela
Doctoral student, Group Bergmann

Sofía is a physicist with a master in neuroscience. During my previous research, I mainly focused on mathematical and computational modelling of physics, biology and neuroscience. Currently working on a better understanding of disease through advanced analysis of large-scale data.
Luca Nanni
Luca Nanni
Doctoral student, Group - Ciriello

Luca studied Computer Science and Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, specializing in Bioinformatics and Machine Learning. He is interested in the study of epigenetics and chromatin, with a strong focus on genome folding mechanisms. His current work aims to find the epigenetic drivers of DNA folding using computational models and machine learning methodologies applied to Hi-C and ChIP-seq data. He is also interested in cancer biology and its relationship with complex chromosomal rearrangements and duplications, which he studies at the level of genome folding.
Alex Button
Postdoctoral position, Group Bergmann

Alex is originally from Australia, where he obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Adelaide, majoring in both Chemistry and Mathematics. This year he obtained his doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from ETH Zürich. His doctoral thesis was concerned with methods for designing novel drug candidates that could easily be synthesized experimentally.



Xmas retreat picture

10h: Welcome and short update by Head of Department

10h15: Introduction of new members (they introduce themselves, up to two slides, e.g. one about CV, one about project in the lab)

10h30: Discussion in breakout rooms on several topics:

• how to work effectively remotely during a pandemic?
• how to increase cohesion within the department/across labs during a pandemic?
• how to best prepare for the next step of your career during a pandemic?
• what is the technology behind moderna/pfizer vaccines and potential associated risks?
• how were the pfizer/moderna vaccines clinically tested?
• how to reduce gender bias at the faculty level in computational sciences?
• how to juggle family and work during a pandemic?
• how to prepare for a work in industry while in academia?
• which outreach activities related to computational biology should the DBC offer?

11h00: Break

11h30: Report of the group discussions in plenum

12h30: Opening secret santa presents

12h30: Lunch in breakout rooms (separate discussions among assistants and PIs)

13h30: Feedback by the assistants and discussion

14h00: Cosmopolitan-inspired Quiz organised by the assistants

15h00: End

Meeting ID : 614 030 0162
Password : HPC_DBC

Don't forget to pick up your Goodie bag before Wedneday the 16th of December !

Available at DBC secretariat
For more Research news and infos on DBC Events, please check out the DBC Website


Bergmann Group

MONET: a toolbox integrating top-performing methods for network modularization

Gene-educational attainment interactions in a multi-ancestry genome-wide meta-analysis identify novel blood pressure loci

Estimating RNA dynamics using one time point for one sample in a single-pulse metabolic experiment

LincRNA sequences are biased to counteract their translation

GWAS of retinal vessel tortuosity identifies 85 novel loci recovering variants associated with disease

Ciriello Group

Discovering functional evolutionary dependencies in human cancers

Group Dessimoz

A putative origin of the insect chemosensory receptor superfamily in the last common eukaryotic ancestor

A generalized Robinson-Foulds distance for labeled trees

OMA orthology in 2021: website overhaul, conserved isoforms, ancestral gene order and more

Salamin Group

A cautionary note on the use of genotype callers in Phylogenomics


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