Advances in Computational Biology, a conference with a feminine touch

Advances in Computational Biology is going to be the first conference in Barcelona organised and presented exclusively by women. Mar Albà gives us more details about it.

Mar Albà collaborates with the BSC to organize Advances in Computational Biology conference

Mar Albà, group leader at the GRIB (UPF-IMIM), collaborates with the BSC to organize Advances in Computational Biology conference.

The Advances in Computational Biology conference will take place next 28th and 29th of November in La Pedrera, Barcelona. This is the first scientific meeting in Barcelona, and probably in Europe, where all the organizers and speakers are women. Those who want to participate can send their abstracts until July 1st.

The initiative comes from the program Bioinfo4women from the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC), which aims to give visibility to the computational biology research done by women.


“Computational biology is one of the fields which has been classically male dominated and this makes it more difficult for women to get a position and keep it”
Mar Albà


Mar Albà, group leader at the Evolutionary Genomics group of the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB: IMIM-UPF) and one of the organizers of the meeting, explains the importance of having an event like this. As she says, “it is true that women are not banned from any conference, but there is still some bias against female speakers”.

The event Advances in Computational Biology will break, at least on this occasion, this bias, often unconscious, that can still be seen in conventional conferences. In fact, awareness is growing on this issue and some conferences are starting to establish some reference percentages to balance the gender of the participant speakers. Advances in Computational Biology goes further, celebrating the research done by women in a conference where absolutely all the speakers are female. Both women and men are invited to attend as public.

The conference will include presentations on a wide range of computational biology topics ranging from:

  • Learning from biological sequences
  • Computational biology meets medicine
  • Machine learning and other developments to speed up research

There will also be social activities to promote networking, such as having the opportunity to debate with more senior (female) principal investigators and group leaders. The attendees will be able to visit La Pedrera, participate in a gala dinner and enjoy a theatre play. Based in real conversations with female scientists, the play will promote the reflection among the public, in a chilled and entertaining way, about the difficulties that women have to face in some occasions in the scientific world.

Advances in Computational Biology is organized by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) – a mixed unit from IMIM and UPF -, Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and the National Institute of Bioinformatics (INB-ELIXIR-ES).

Don’t miss this video with Mar Albà, where she gives us her personal view on the conference.



About the author
Júlia Garcia is an environmental biologist, a degree that she got from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Currently, she enjoys with science communication, a field she has specialized in during the master's degree at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication.

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