Programme finalized for First International HealthGrid meeting to be held in the United States, June 2-4, 2008

Chicago 21 April 2008The HealthGrid U.S. Alliance has finalized the programme for the sixth annual International HealthGrid conference - the first one to be held in the United States, "Global HealthGrid: eScience Meets Biomedical Informatics".


"As the first HealthGrid conference in the America's, this is an historic event", stated Jonathan Silverstein, M.D., President, HealthGrid.US, and Associate Director, Computation Institute, Argonne/University of Chicago. "The programme will appeal broadly to the interdisciplinary eScience and biomedical informatics communities, including physicians, medical educators, students, epidemiologists, biomedical informaticians, military medicine specialists, computer scientists, security and policy makers, economists, and futurists."

The conference begins on June 2 with a day of workshops and tutorials which will provide training and demonstrations, including basic Grid concepts, case studies and the most advanced topics on infrastructure and applications for computational biologists and public health informaticians.

The formal conference will kick-off on June 3, with welcoming remarks by Robert J. Zimmer, Ph.D., President of the University of Chicago. Following the welcoming ceremonies, Ian Foster, Ph.D., will provide a keynote presentation on "eScience meets Biomedical Informatics". Scientific papers will be complemented with a roundtable discussion from United States, European, and Asian government leaders on "Government eScience and Cyberinfrastructure Programmes for HealthGrid", moderated by Michael Cowan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Bearing Point, and former United States Navy Surgeon General. Dr. Cowan will precede the government roundtable discussion with a keynote presentation on "The Role of Government in the Future Knowledge Society".

"The main importance of the meeting, apart from communicating information about research programmes, is for partners to meet and network. The annual HealthGrid conference provides an opportunity to plan and prepare for future joint collaborations of global scale", stated Vincent Breton, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and co-chair of the Programme Committee.

The final day of the conference provides a major networking opportunity, starting with a keynote presentation by Peter Hunter, Ph.D., director, The Bioengineering Institute, University of Aukland, on the "Physiome Project", a worldwide public domain effort to provide a computational framework for understanding human and other eukaryotic physiology, i.e., organisms whose cells are organized into complex structures enclosed within membranes. It aims to develop integrative models at all levels of biological organisation, from genes to the whole organism via gene regulatory networks, protein pathways, integrative cell function, and tissue and whole organ structure/function relations.

Because public-private partnerships become increasingly important to global science, an industry roundtable will provide business models for HealthGrid in the emerging knowledge economy and the impact of industry innovation.

The closing session will highlight perspectives from GridAsia, by Simon Lin, Ph.D., Academia Sinica, Taiwan, as the HealthGrid continues to expand globally. "The international networking aspects of the HealthGrid benefit a broad range of biomedical informatics programmes", stated Mary Kratz, Executive Vice President of the HealthGrid.US Alliance and Senior Information Services Specialist, University of Michigan. "We are delighted with the strong work of the Programme Committee to bring together an outstanding programme for HealthGrid 2008."

The selected papers will be published in the series "Studies in Health Technology and Informatics", IOS Press, and referenced in MEDLINE.

The HealthGrid conference is the premier conference on the transformation of biomedical research, education and medical care through the application of Grid technologies. HealthGrid is dedicated to enhancing biomedical research and health care delivery, creating an open collaborative virtual community, and communicating the collective knowledge of the HealthGrid.

Scheduling and other conference details can be found at the HealthGrid 2008 conference website.

Leslie Versweyveld

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