BioVis Challenges (BioVis@Vis)

BioVis Challenges Workshop at IEEE VIS 2017, Phoenix, USA

Aims, Scope & Objectives

The rapidly expanding field of biology creates enormous challenges for data visualization techniques that enable researchers to gain insight from their large and highly complex data sets.

The BioVis Interest Group organizes this interdisciplinary workshop at IEEE VIS, covering aspects of visualization in biology. This workshop brings together researchers from the visualization, bioinformatics, and biology communities with the purpose of educating, inspiring, and engaging visualization researchers in problems in biological data visualization. The goal of this workshop is to create synergies and spark potential future collaborations between domain experts and vis researchers around state-of-the-art biology-driven challenges.

Workshop Format

BioVis Challenges Workshop is a half-day event organised in conjunction with IEEE VIS 2017 taking place on October 2nd, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. The workshop will be focusing on a state-of-the-art biological challenge that requires a concerted effort from researchers in visualisation and biology to be addressed effectively. The event will kick-off with a keynote from a biology expert where challenges in a particular domain are presented, related data sources and existing efforts are discussed, and eventually a series of motivating scientific questions are posed to motivate the rest of the event. Following the keynote, the session will involve hands-on activity by groups of visualisation researchers, paired up with a domain scientist. Groups will be working on the sub-problems highlighted at the keynote, characterising the problem further, and sketching solutions and ideas in a format that best suits them (from pen and paper, to sketchy prototypes) to eventually develop a proposal for further research. The event will then conclude with the groups reporting back their approach, and participants will be encouraged to continue working on the problems through further collaborations using their produced proposals as a starting point.

The output of the workshop will be a list of well-characterized visualization challenges within the context of the problem domain. The organizers, together with the participants, will externalize these challenges in the form of a report or publication following the event.

Biological Context & Speakers

This year’s workshop will be focusing on challenges related to the Visualization of Cancer Genomics Data. Thanks to the decreasing cost of next-generation sequencing, and the efforts by major consortiums including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), cancer genomics continues to be a field with exciting developments and findings, but also leading to increasing number of challenges that provide opportunities for visualisation to make a difference within the analysis of the data generated.

Within this domain, there are already a multitude of well-known challenges, such as comparing the genomic sequences, and transcriptomes of tumor cells with those of normal cells, or the comprehensive characterisation of different types and subtypes of cancer, as well as several clinical applications such as improved diagnosis of cancer, prenatal screening, or the design of targeted therapeutic agents, to name a few. There are several cancer genomics data sets that are readily available (GENIE, TCGA) and several platforms provide APIs to access such data sets (e.g. cBio Portal, GDC).

The workshop will focus on particular challenges in this broad context of Cancer Genomics Data Analysis, and will characterize the subproblems in-depth to set the scope for further visualisation research.


Jeremy Warner, Center for Precision Medicine, Vanderbilt University

Talk title: TBD

Note: We are in the process of finalising further speakers, and will be providing further preliminary material and guidance here to help participants prepare for the workshop.

Expression of Interest and staying up-to-date

In order to state your interest in the workshop and stay up-to-date about the details of the event, please register your interest through the following form:

Expression of Interest Form

We will be using the collected information to better prepare for the workshop and send (just a few) notifications to keep you up-to-date on the workshop.

Filling in this form is not mandatory for participation at the workshop, however, it will help us greatly to plan ahead to ensure a successful event. Organizers and Contact Organizers for this workshop are:

Cagatay Turkay, City, University of London, UK

Nils Gehlenborg, Harvard Medical School, USA

Marc Streit, Johannes Kepler University Linz, AT

Jan Aerts, KU Leuven, BE

Feel free to contact Cagatay Turkay on queries regarding the workshop.