This summer I am working on a GSoC project (Gene Expression Reader plugin) for cytoscape again, and as a GSoC student, I got a chance to go to the 2010 Cytoscape summer retreat in Ann Arbor Michigan, and met several mentors, and listened to several very interesting talks.

I talked to Alex Pico, my direct mentor on the Express Reader plugin, also Scooter and Daniele. The face to face meeting turns out to be very efficient 🙂 and we clarified several uncertainties in the project design. It’s also interesting to learn some history of the Cytoscape, and link faces to some familiar names in mailing lists.

One of the interesting talk is about a cytoscape plugin that can explore open linked data (LOD), given by Eric Neumann. He talked about a SPARQL plugin that can be used to query LOD data, and gave quite a few case studies on how to use the plugin to query and visualize data that are related to drug discovery.  It was related to the work that is being done in the Wild’s group I worked with last year (chem2bio2rdf). Although I am not actively involved in that project any more, it’s exciting to see that the data could be potentially put into real use.

Dr Lee Hood gave a inspiring talk on the future role of systems biology to P4 medicine (predictive, preventive, personalized, participatory). There are several other interesting talks and fun posters too.

Finally, the location of the meeting was in a big research building that was belong to Pfizer, and was recently bought to UM, but was still pretty much vacant. It’s a huge building and very nice facilities, but so quiet as we are the only group of people in it.

Update on 9/3: It seems the videos of all talks are uploaded now (