Yet another mostly male meeting (YAMMM) from Cold Spring Harbor

I guess this would go down in “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” or something like that. A few weeks ago, I posted an anonymous guest post about the lack of female speakers at the Programming for Biology workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Labs: Guest post on Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting (YAMMM) – Programming for Biology.  This got a response from Cold Spring Harbor on Twitter claiming they do work to have diverse speakers at their meetings.

Then I got an email last week inviting me to Cold Spring Harbor meeting on the History of DNA Sequencing with a truly awful gender ratio.  So I wrote a blog post about that: Cold Spring Harbor presents the men’s only view on the evolution of sequencing.  And also started a discussion about this on Twitter.

And in response to some comments from some of the CSHL Meeting people I decided to look into the past meetings in the same history of science series and was saddened with the incredibly low # of female speakers at all the meetings in this series. So I posted about that …

And had more discussions on Twitter where CSHL made some claims about these History of Science meetings being a special case (not buying their argument, just reporting what they said).

And I thought I could have a relaxing Fourth of July weekend not spending my time dealing with Cold Spring Harbor Meetings.  And then, well, I got an email from CSHL that I just looked at a few minutes ago.  This email invited me to one of their “CSHL Asia Conferences”.

I clicked on the link and when to the meeting site: Biological Rhythms and sadly I got sucked into YAMMM (yet another mostly male meeting) land.  Here are the details on the organizers and presenters as far as I could sort out.  I have labelled people I infer to be likely male in yellow and likely female in green.  (I note I accept that a binary male vs. female representation of gender is less than ideal but I think in general this is a useful thing to look and to make some hypotheses for to assess meetings).


  1. Carla Green, UT Southwestern, USA
  2. Michael Hastings, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK
  3. Joseph Takahashi, HHMI/UT Southwestern, USA
  4. Hiroki Ueda, University of Tokyo/RIKEN, Japan
  5. Han Wang, Soochow University, China


  1. Joseph Takahashi, HHMI/UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA 
  2. Ravi Allada, Northwestern University, USA 
  3. Joseph Bass, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, USA 
  4. Deborah Bell-Pedersen, Texas A&M University, USA 
  5. Nicolas Cermakian, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, CANADA 
  6. Xinnian Dong, Duke University, USA 
  7. Yoshitaka Fukada, University of Tokyo, JAPAN 
  8. Carla Green, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA 
  9. Jinhu Guo, Sun Yat-Sen University, China 
  10. Fang Han, Peking University People’s Hospital of Beijing, CHINA 
  11. Qun He, China Agricultural University, China 
  12. John Hogenesch, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, USA 
  13. Zhili Huang, Fudan University, China 
  14. Takao Kondo, Nagoya University/Div. of Biological Science, JAPAN 
  15. Katja Lamia, The Scripps Research Institute, USA 
  16. Cheng Chi Lee, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, USA 
  17. Yi Liu, UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA 
  18. Chang Liu, Nanjing Normal University, China 
  19. Hugh Piggins, University of Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM 
  20. Till Roenneberg, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, GERMANY 
  21. Louis Ptacek, HHMI/University of California San Francisco, USA 
  22. Hiroki Ueda, RIKEN Kobe Institute, JAPAN 
  23. David Virshup, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, SINGAPORE 
  24. Han Wang, Soochow University, China 
  25. Charles Weitz, Harvard Medical School, USA 
  26. David Whitmore, University College London, UNITED KINGDOM 
  27. Ying Xu, Soochow University, China 
  28. Xiaodong Xu, Hubei Normal University, China 
  29. Erquan Zhang, National Institute of Biological Sciences, China 
  30. Zhangwu Zhao, China Agricultural University, China
So that is 30 speakers.  Only 29 of which could I find information on the web to make a hypothesis of gender.  Of those 29, I inferred 6 – or 20% to be female.  That is just really low for biological sciences.  I am sorry Cold Spring Harbor but you are just not doing a good enough job with diversity.  Scratch that, you are doing a bad job.  Sad to see.  

Kudos to California Academy of Sciences for Responding (Well) to Gender Bias Issue at Meeting They Are Hosting

Just a quick post of a Storify relating to a meeting at the Calacademy:

Time to boycott Oxford Global meetings due to blatant sexism

I don’t even know what to say or do about this it is so stunningly pathetic.  I saw this Tweet earlier in the day:

I figured even in an era of blatant sexism in science, this must be a mistake right?  How could there be a conference with 38 male speakers and 0 female speakers.  So I went to the site: Who is Speaking – Oxford Global’s 13th Pharmaceutical IT Congress, September 2015.  And, well, as far as I can tell Elisabeth Bik has the numbers right.  (See a list at the end of this post).  They even have a running slideshow of the speakers faces.

This is even worse than the 25:1 ratio of the qBio meeting I lost it over a few years ago.  I have never seen anything like this. I note – a 38:0 ratio is nearly impossible by chance in any field and I think pretty clearly an indication of massive bias of some kind.

I note – this is not the first case of a mostly male meeting from Oxford Global.  See for example:
Oxford Global Sequencing Meetings: Where MEN Tell You About Sequencing #YAMMM

I think it is time to just boycott meetings meetings from Oxford Global.  The only way they will change is if people stop speaking at or going to their meetings.  So please – stop going to their meetings.  Stop speaking at their meetings.

Speakers 2015:

  • Sebastien Lefebvre 
    Director Data Engineering and Technology – Global Data Office, Biogen Idec
  • Uwe Barlage
    EDC Project Leader, Bayer Healthcare
  • Marc Berger
    Vice President, Real World Data and Analytics, Pfizer
  • Michael Braxenthaler
    Pharma Research and Early Development Informatics, Global Head Strategic Alliances, Roche, & President, Pistoia Alliance
  • Arnaub Chatterjee
    Associate Director – Data Science, Insights and Partnerships, Merck
  • James Connelly
    Global Head, Research Data Management, Sanofi
  • Jos Echelpoels
    Director IT, Regional Initiatives, Janssen
  • Brian Ellerman
    ‎Head of Technology Scouting and Information Science Innovation, Sanofi
  • Peter Elsig Raun
    Director & Head Business Analysis, Lundbeck
  • Dimitrios Georgiopoulos
    Chief Scientific Officer UK, Novartis
  • Charles Gerrits
    Vice President, Innovative Patient-Centric Endpoints and Solutions, Sanofi
  • Yike Guo
    Professor of Computing Science, Imperial College London and Chief Technology Officer, tranSMART Foundation
  • Sergio H. Rotstein
    Director, Research Business Technology, Pfizer
  • Juergen Hammer
    Global Head Data Science, Center Head Pharma Research and Early Development Informatics, Roche
  • Jan Hauss
    Head Central Analytics Informatics, Merck
  • Athula Herath
    Statistical Director, Translational Sciences, MedImmune
  • Nigel Hughes
    Director Integrative Healthcare Informatics, Janssen Research and Development
  • Michael Hvalsøe Brinkløv
    BI Architect, IT Platforms & Infrastructure, Lundbeck
  • Robert J. Boland
    Senior Manager, Translational Informatics & External Innovation R&D IT, Janssen
  • Adrian Jones
    Associate Director, Business Intelligence Systems, Astellas
  • Srivatsan Krishnan
    Director and Head of R&D Operations and IT, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Philippe Marc
    Global Head of Preclinical Informatics, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research
  • Dermot McCaul
    Director, Preclinical Development and Biologics IT, Merck
  • Pantaleo Nacci
    Head Statistical Safety & Epidemiology/PV, Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics Srl (a GSK company)
  • Gerhard Noelken
    Global Business IT Lead for Pharmaceutical Science, Pfizer WRD
  • Emmanuel Pham
    VP Biométrie, Ipsen 
  • Andrew Porter
    Director, Enterprise Architecture, Merck
  • Gabriele Ricci
    Vice President of TechOpps IT, Shire
  • Anthony Rowe
    Director, Translational Informatics and External Innovation, Johnson & Johnson
  • Martin Ryzl
    Director, GIC Analytics Platform Engineering, Merck
  • Wolfgang Seemann
    Senior Project Manager, Bayer Business Services
  • Aziz Sheikh
    Professor of Primary Care Research & Development and Co-Director Center for Population Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh
  • Yan Song
    Associate Director, Bioanalysis Operations, AbbVie
  • Devry Spreitzer
    Director, Global Electronic Systems Quality Assurance, Astellas
  • Jason Swift
    Head R&D Information UK, AstraZeneca
  • Kevin Teburi
    Director – iMed Team Leader, R&D Information, AstraZeneca
  • Simon Thornber
    Director, Data Analytics, Informatics and Innovation, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Tjeerd Van Staa
    Professor of Health eResearch, University of Manchester
Some past meetings from Oxford Global to consider

Four simple tools to promote gender balance at conferences – guest post from Julie Pfeiffer @jkpfeiff

Guest post from Julie Pfeiffer.

Julie Pfeiffer
Associate Professor of Microbiology
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Four simple tools to promote gender balance at conferences 

1. Know that you are biased. Identify your biases.

We all have biases and many of them are unconscious. You can discover your own biases using online social attitude tests developed by Project Implicit, a non-profit organization affiliated with Harvard University. The Gender-Science Implicit Association Test is particularly relevant here. It turns out that I have moderate bias linking science with males, as well as other biases. Knowing this fact has been extremely important. It is very difficult to alter unconscious bias, but it is easy to understand that you are biased and edit your actions accordingly. For example, if I need to make a list of potential speakers or authors quickly, the list will be of senior men from the United States. The key is to spend time EDITING the list to ensure diversity.

2. Keep track of numbers.

Most individuals in leadership positions are not seeking to exclude women or other groups from plenary talks, career opportunities, etc. Instead, they simply forget to count. They forget to keep track of gender ratio and other types of diversity. They forget to edit. When leaders/organizers have diversity in mind, diversity is relatively easy to achieve. Two examples illustrate this point:

1) Vincent Racaniello is President of the American Society for Virology and his goal was to put together an outstanding and diverse group of plenary speakers for the annual meeting in 2015. He asked for speaker suggestions via emails and Twitter ( He made a list and he edited it. The result? The best representation of female scientists at a conference I have ever seen— 50% of the plenary speakers at ASV this year are female.

2) The Associate Editors at the Journal of Virology choose topics and authors for short reviews called “Gems”. The goal was to have high diversity in several areas including author gender, author career stage, author location, and topic. To keep ourselves on track to achieve this goal, we included several extra columns in our author/topic spreadsheet: Female? Non-USA location? Junior PI? This simple reminder in the spreadsheet has helped us select relatively diverse authors and topics: ~30% are female, ~30% are Assistant Professors, and ~20% are at institutions outside the United States.

3. Create lists and ask people for suggestions. 

Trying to come up with names of female scientists de novo can be a challenge. A few months ago, Carolyn Coyne, Erica Ollmann-Saphire, and Clodagh O’Shea made a list of as many female virologists as they could. Over wine, they devised a list of 70 names. We have circulated this list to many of our colleagues and tweeted a request to send missing names. The list is now at 349 and is publicly available (please tweet missing names to It is much easier to think of diverse options for speakers and authors by using a pre-existing list. Virologists with this list can no longer claim that they “couldn’t think of a female speaker”. Each field could benefit from a list like this, which could also include other underrepresented groups. Several of these lists exist, as has been highlighted on this and other blogs.

4. Speak up and enlist the help of supportive senior faculty.

Expressing concern to conference organizers about low speaker diversity can go a long way. While it may be difficult to change the speaker list close to the conference date, mentioning the lack of diversity could change the future landscape of the conference. I have an example from my own experience: I created an international shitstorm that had a great outcome. In year three of my faculty position I was considering whether to attend a major conference, so I checked the speaker list to help make my decision. Zero of 18 plenary speakers were female. I decided not to attend. Instead, I emailed the conference organizer to express my disappointment with the complete lack of female plenary speakers. His response, over several emails, was less than supportive:

“…. Finally, the gender, race, religion has never been, to my opinion, valuable ways to select presenters of scientific works. The selection of the Plenary Lectures has been made by the Organizing Committee, that comprises a woman, based on the topic, then the best possible speaker on the topic…. I am aware of the current debate in our societies about “minimum numbers”. I do not think they would help the cause of women in science.”

While this organizer was not supportive or responsive to my speaker suggestions, five senior (famous) faculty members in the field were hyper-supportive. Upon hearing this story, they each contacted the organizer and expressed their concern about the lack of diversity. It was too late to change the program for the conference that year. However, in every subsequent year, the plenary speakers at this conference have included women and other underrepresented groups. So, it’s possible that a simple email from a young scientist can make a difference, particularly with the help of senior faculty.

Today’s YAMMM – The British Society for Plant Pathology

Well, this is not the most egregious example of a mostly male meeting but it still has some issues: The BSPP – The British Society for Plant Pathology 2015 meeting.  Nine speakers.  Seven male.  And this in a field with plenty of excellent female researchers.

Cassava brown streak disease
(1) James Legg – IITA Tanzania
(2) Stephan Winter – Leibniz Institute DSMZ Germany
(3) Maruthi Gowda – Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich

Late blight
(1) Bill Fry – Cornell University
(2) Sophien Kamoun – Sainsbury Lab, Norwich
(3) Jonathan Jones – Sainsbury Lab, Norwich

Rice blast
(1) Sarah Gurr – University of Exeter
(2) Lauren Ryder – University of Exeter
(3) Thomas Kroj – INRA, Montpellier, France

But the weirdest part —  it says

“This year, the BSPP President, Prof. Gary Foster, has only chosen a few invited speakers on specific diseases, and wishes the remainder of the talks to be selected from offered papers.”

So does this mean Prof. Gary Foster just picked all speakers?  If so, perhaps Prof. Gary Foster needs to do a little thinking about his possible biases …

#YAMMM Alert: Drug Discovery and Therapy World Congress, a meeting made for @realDonaldTrump & other men

Note – see update at bottom of post

Elizabeth Bik sent me a link to this meeintg: DRUG DISCOVERY & THERAPY WORLD CONGRESS 2015 with a comment about the ratio of males to females in the keynote speakers.  And it is painful.  Of the plenary and keynote speakers, 15 are male and 1 is female.  Below I show pics of the plenary and keynote speakers:

Plenary and Keynote Speakers at Drug Discovery and Thearpy World Congress

Female Plenary and Keynote Speakers at Drug Discovery and Thearpy World Congress
Two bonus people who could have been giving keynote talks but who actually are not.

The gender bias at this meeting puts into perspective the push by the NIH to get drug researchers to inlcude more female subjects in their studies.  See for example, Why Are All the Lab Rats Boys? NIH Tells Drug Researchers to Stop Being Sexist Pigs.  Here is a thought, maybe we can get some of these speakers to cancel speaking at the meeting and also maybe we can get nobody to attent the meeting.  Sigh.  Yet another mostly male meeting.  Also known as “YAMMM“.

UPDATE October 14, 2014.

Well, this is one of the strangest and lamest things I have seen associated with a conference in a while.  Elizabeth Bik just emailed me to show me an invite she received to the “Global Biotechnology Congress 2015.”  And here is the bizarre thing.  It is at the same time as the Drug Discovery meeting discussed here.  Same place.  Same speakers.  It is apparently the same meeting with a new name.

Same bad gender ratio of course too.
Did they do this to avoid people discovering my post about the awful gender ratio?  I don’t know but seems like it might be so.  What a joke.  Well, I can guarantee people will associated this meeting name with the previous one.  

What to do when you realize the meeting you are speaking at is a YAMMM (yet another mostly male meeting)?

I am supposed to be talking at a meeting Tuesday: Almaden Institute 2014: Sequence the City -Metagenomics in the Era of Big Data.

In looking at the agenda for the meeting I am pretty bummed about the gender ratio of speakers. Looks like 18:5 Men to Women. 

  • Jeff Welser IBM 
  • David Haussler UCSC 
  • Daniel Huson Tubingen U 
  • Joe DeRisi UCSF 
  • Jane Carlton NYU 
  • Ajay Royyuru IBM 
  • Paula Olsiewski Sloan Foundation 
  • Christopher Mentzel Moore Foundation 
  • Anne Marie Kimball Gates Foundation 
  • Jonathan Eisen UC Davis 
  • Jessica Green U Oregon 
  • Mark Adams JCVI 
  • Eric Alm MIT 
  • Raul Andino UCSF 
  • Scott Kahn Illumina 
  • Mike Lelivelt Ion Torrent 
  • Radoje (Rade) Drmanac Complete Genomics 
  • Brett Bowman Pacific Biosciences 
  • Chris Mason Cornell 
  • Bart Weimer UC Davis 
  • David Crean Mars 
  • Astri Wayadande Oklahoma State U 
  • Christopher Elkins FDA

Not sure what to do about this. I am certainly (in a few minutes) going to be writing to the organizers. I am also pondering cancelling talking. I try very hard to be vigilant about gender ratios at meetings and it drives me crazy to see such skews. I know it is not always possible to have meetings have equal representation and I know some people try very hard and do not succeed. But this seems unpleasantly extreme. So – any thoughts or recommendations as to what to do would be appreciated.

UPDATE 5/5 –

Well the schedule has been updated – and now the male: female speaker ratio is 21:6. Note – Jack Gilbert is moderating and speaking and I am counting him twice. Also Robert Prill is opening each day and closing day 2 so in a way this could be counted as 23:6.

  • Robert Prill, IBM 
  • Jeff Welser IBM 
  • David Haussler UCSC 
  • Daniel Huson Tubingen U 
  • Joe DeRisi UCSF 
  • Jane Carlton NYU 
  • Ajay Royyuru IBM 
  • Laurie Garrett (moderating) 
  • Paula Olsiewski Sloan Foundation 
  • Christopher Mentzel, Moore Foundation 
  • Anne Marie Kimball Gates Foundation 
  • Jonathan Eisen UC Davis 
  • Jessica Green U Oregon 
  • Robert Prill 
  • Mark Adams JCVI 
  • Eric Alm MIT 
  • Raul Andino UCSF 
  • Jack Gilbert (moderating) 
  • Jack Gilbert (speaking) 
  • Scott Kahn, Illumina 
  • Mike Lelivelt Ion Torrent 
  • Radoje (Rade) Drmanac Complete Genomics 
  • Brett Bowman Pacific Biosciences 
  • Chris Mason Cornell 
  • Bart Weimer UC Davis 
  • David Crean Mars 
  • Astri Wayadande Oklahoma State U 
  • Christopher Elkins FDA 
  • Robert Prill


So I decided to go to the meeting and talk. Here is a video slideshow of my talk with audio.

 and here are the slides on Slideshare

I am not sure if I made the right decision but what I decided to do was to change my talk to feature the work of women and to highlight those women.


Here are some pics showing the before (left) and after (right) for how I changed my talk from the previous talk I gave about this topic.  Among the changes I made:

  • I added names and pictures of the women behind the work 
  • Changed examples to be about work of women when I had been using work of men
  • Added additional examples of work by women directly related to my talk
And I used the pictures and names on the slides to remind me to talk about the women behind the work. 

I think this strategy is a potentially useful tool in combatting the implicit and subtle biases against women in STEM fields.  All of what I said was true.  I just made sure to emphasize and use examples of work by women when previously I had either not said who did certain work or had sometimes emphasized work by men.  And I made sure to show pictures and say the names of the women behind the work too.

Added name and picture of program officer Paula Olsiweski who I had quoted previously.
Changed example of new publication that we add to our collection and used a publication
by a female graduate student, post doc Rachel Adams.  
Included name and picture of student post-doc Rachel Adams on other slides
about the topic

Included name and picture of student post-doc Rachel Adams on other slides
about the topic. 

Added a mention of the blog post by student post-doc Rachel Adams.

Added picture and name of post doc Allison Fish who organized meeting
I was discussing.

Added name and picture of Mary Jo Seminoff who coordinates
production of the newsletter I had mentioned.

Added screenshot and names of Holly Bik interviewing Amy Pruden for the
“People Behind the Science” series mentioned in previous slide.

Added name and picture of Brooke Borel and discussed her news stories (had mentioned
news stories in general w/o examples)

Added picture and name and blog post of Holly Ganz who wrote about
the news stories by Brooke Borel.

Changed example to be about Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello instead
of Thomas Bruns.

Changed example to be about Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello instead
of Thomas Bruns.

Added extra slide discussing Software Carpentry workshop
organized by Jenna Lang and Tracy Teal (and added
names and pics of them).

Added pics and names of Jo Handelsman and Tiffany Tsang who coordinated
one of the examples on the slide but who had not gotten mentioned

Added picture and name of undergraduate student Hannah Holland-Moritz who was
involved in this work.

Added picture and name of research associate Madison Dunitz
who led this work.

Added name and picture of undergraduate student Sabreen Aulakh
who was involved in this work.

Added picture of graduate student Laura Sauder who
was our main contact in the lab of Josh Newfeld.

Added pictures and names of Darlene Cavalier and Caren Cooper who
inspired me to get involved in Citizen Science.

Added picture and name of Darlene Cavalier who was keynote speaker
at these meetings.

Added extra slide on the phone microbiome project and added names and pics of the people
involved including graduate student Georgia Barguil.

Added names and pics of the people behind this project (Holly Menninger and Rob Dunn)

Changed slide a little bit and added name and pic of Jessica Richman, one of the people behind the uBiome project.

Added pics that included more of the key women behind this project – including Darlene Cavalier, Wendy Brown
and Jenna Lang.

Added a slide about Altmetrics and added pic and name of Heather Piwowar and mentioned
her work  Had included one line about Altmetrics on a slide before.

Added reference to paper by Holly Bik and Miriam Goldstein and
emphasized the workshops run by Holly Bik.  Included pics and names on slide too.


Added links to find out more information about the work of the women in the slides (links are in the image captions).
UPDATE 9/6/14

Another Mostly Male Meeting from UCSD- should be called "Food and Fuel for the 19th Century"

Well, just when I thought meeting organizers from UCSD had learned their lesson regarding mostly male meetings – this comes along.  Check out “Food and Fuel for the 21st Century” (I was pointed to this by a comment on a blog post of mine). The speakers are

That a ratio of 18:2 or 10% female.  
Not that I know the cause of this but here are some other pieces of information to consider.
The Food and Fuel for the 21st Century Program lists 5 people on their Executive Committee.  Any guesses on the # of these that are men?  Well it is 5.
Fortunately they have an Advisory Committee too and that must have some women on it right?  Nope.

Reminds me a bit of the QBio meeting from 2013 organized by many from UCSD which I wrote about last year: Q-Bio conference in Hawaii, bring your surfboard & your Y chromosome because they don’t take a XX.  I note – this years Q-Bio meeting is much better.  But one can ask – does nobody at UCSD think about these issues when planning conferences and Advisory / Executive Committees.  I personally don’t think one should choose women to just choose women.  But as with the Q-Bio meeting from last year, I think there are an enormous number of highly qualified women working on topics directly related to “Food and Fuel for the 21st Century” and thus I am both surprised and disturbed by the gender ratio of this meeting and this organization.

UPDATE 3/4 7:21 AM

It took me a bit but I found details on the 2013 symposium from the same group.  The web site for the 2013 meeting is not active as far as I can tell.  However it is available in the Internet Archive.  For example, here is a snapshot from June 1, 2013.  From that snapshot here are the listed speakers

  • David Kramer, Michigan State University
  • Susan Golden, University of California, San Diego
  • Julian Schroeder, University of California, San Diego
  • Stephen Mayfield, University of California, San Diego
  • Steven Briggs, University of California, San Diego
  • Matteo Pellegrini, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Donald Weeks, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Michael Burkart, University of California, San Diego
  • Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, University of California, San Diego
  • Farzad Haerizadeh, Life Technologies
  • Ben Hueso, California State Assembly
  • Bill Gerwick, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Eric Mathur, SG Biofuels
  • James Van Etten, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Fred Tennant, Heliae
  • David Dunigan, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Xuemei Bai, Cellana
  • George Oyler, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Gerry Mackie, University of California, San Diego
  • Mark Hildebrand, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Lawrence Johnson, Salim Group
  • Craig Behnke, Sapphire Energy
  • Rebecca White, Sapphire Energy

For a ratio of 20:3.

Kudos to the DOE-JGI for organizing a genomics meeting w/ a good gender ratio – no kudos to BGI – yet again.

Very happy to see the preliminary speaker list for The Annual DOE JGI User Meeting.  As many are aware, I have blogged and posted extensively about gender ratio at conferences and in particular at conferences related to genomics.  And alas, many people running genomics related meetings seem incapable of organizing a meeting with a reasonable gender ratio.  Some of my past posts on this and related topics include

But of course, there are some meetings out there that do a good job in having speakers represent at least some aspects of the diversity of scientists.  I am for example proud of the 2012 Lake Arrowhead Small Genomes meeting I co-organized: Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomes Meeting 2012 Speaker Gender Ratio #LAMG12.  But I do not frequently write about meetings that are doing a good job with gender ratio and I am trying to also give props to such cases here.  And thus I was very pleased when I received an email telling me about the The Annual DOE JGI User Meeting.  From their web site here are the current confirmed speakers:


  • Annalee Newitz, io9 “How humans will survive a mass extinction”
  • Steve Quake, Stanford University “Single cell genomics”

Other confirmed speakers:

  • Martin Ackermann, ETH Zurich – “A single cell perspective on bacterial interactions”
  • Luke Alphey, Oxitec – “Genetic control of mosquitoes”
  • Mary Berbee, University of British Columbia – “Genomes of early-diverging fungi reveal evidence of enzymes for breakdown of plant cell walls”
  • David Berry, University of Vienna (Austria) – “Single cell isotope probing of microbes via Raman microspectroscopy: A new way of in situ functional analyses and cell sorting”
  • Nicole Dubilier, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology “Metagenomic and metaproteomic analyses of symbioses between bacteria and gutless marine worms”
  • Katrina Edwards, University of Southern California – “Genomics and proteomics of zeta proteobacteria”
  • Michael Fischbach, University of California, San Francisco -“A gene-to-molecule approach to the discovery and characterization of natural products”
  • Phil McClean, North Dakota State University -“Uncovering signatures of domestication using genomic resequencing and association mapping”
  • June Medford, Colorado State University -“Making better plants: synthetic approaches in plant engineering”
  • Maria Mercedes Roca, Zamorano University (Honduras) -“Synthetic biology & bioenergy: helping the good guys and stopping the bad”
  • Anne Osbourn, John Innes Centre -“Plant specialized Metabolites – Synthesis, function and mechanisms of metabolic diversification”
  • Pamela Ronald, UC Davis – “Whole genome sequencing of rice mutants to identify genes controlling response to strss and cell wall saccharification”
  • Steve Rounsley, Dow Agrosciences – “Cassava genomics – applying genomic technologies to benefit smallholder farmers in Africa.”
  • Kankshita Swaminathan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – “Genome biology of Miscanthus”
  • Rytas Vilgalys, Duke University -“Understanding the forest microbiome: a fungal perspective”
  • Dan Voytas, University of Minnesota – “Precise engineering of genomes with sequence-specific nucleases”
So that is a ratio of 9:9 male to female and a ratio of 1:1 for keynote speakers.  Good to see.  Now if only everyone else would do this.  In contrast to DOE-JGI consider the recent BGI organized meeting  “The 8th International Conference on Genomics” that was at the end of October in 2013.  By browsing through the interactive list of Speakers and their Agenda I come up with the following:
Keynote talks: Male 2: Female 0
Session Chairs Male 15: Female 4
Any role:  96 male: 17 female

Pretty painful.  It is even more painful to me to look at the whole list.  The full list with people I have classified as men highlighted in yellow and women in green.  Just look at the overrepresentation of yellow. 

Opening Remarks

  • Jun Wang, BGI
  • Huanming Yang, BGI

Keynote Speech

  • Technologies for Reading, Writing & Interpreting Omes –George Church, Harvard Medical School

Plenary Session 1: Emerging Technology Innovation

  • Chairman: Radoje Drmanac, Complete Genomics
  • Advanced Diploid Genome Sequencing Using Long Fragment Read Technology Radoje Drmanac, Complete Genomics
  • The Application of SmartChip on Target Region Capture Sequencing Hui Jiang, BGI
  • What Happens When Sequencing Becomes Really Cheap, Really Easy, and Really Fast Stefan Roever, Genia Technologies
  • Ion Torrent Semiconductor Technology – Targeted & Exome Sequencing Made Simple Andy Felton, Life Technologies

Plenary Session 2: Human Genome Projects and Big Data Management

  • Chairman: Stephan Beck, UCL Cancer Institute
  • TBC George Church, Harvard Medical School
  • Genomic Medicine in China and HVP-China Database Ming Qi, BGI
  • Population Genomics: Pan Asia Population Genomics Initiative and Korean Personal Genome Project Jong Bhak, Genome Research Foundation/Personal Genomics Institute
  • Gene Discovery and Data Sharing in Genome Wide Association Analyses: Lessons Form AIDS Genetic Restriction Genes Steve O’Brien, St. Petersburg State University
  • Systems Thinking in Clinical Genomics: a Requirements Perspective Sanjay Joshi, EMC

Plenary Session 3: Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Open-source Genomics, a New Model of Scientific Research

  • Chairman: Scott Edmunds, GigaScience
  • uBiome-Sequencing the Human Microbiome Using Citizen Science Zachary Apte, uBiome
  • Crowdsourcing Analyses of the Emergent Pathogen Ash Dieback Dan MacLean, The Sainsbury Laboratory
  • Parrots of the Caribbean: from One Genome to an Evolutionary Model of Island Evolution Taras Oleksyk, University of Puerto Rico
  • TBC Jacob Shiach, Brightwork CoResearch

Keynote Speech

  • The Omics World: To Explore the Unexplorable – Personalized Health will Depend on Your Gut Flora Jun Wang, BGI

Session 4: Clinical Transomics

  • Chairman: Vince Gao, BGI
  • Clinical Transomics Approaches for 4 P Medicine Vince Gao, BGI
  • Insights Into The Lethal Phenotype of Prostate Cancer Colin Collins, Vancouver Prostate Centre
  • Metabonomics in Clinical Research Jia Li, Imperial College London
  • The Ultimate Genetic Test: Accurate and Affordable WGS for Advanced Reproductive Health and Genomic Healthcare Radoje Drmanac, Complete Genomics

Session 5: Newborn and Reproductive Health

  • Chairman: Yutao Du, BGI
  • Pre- and Postimplantation Aneuploidy Testing in Germany Tina Buchholz, Centre for Reproductive Genetics
  • Metabolomics in Newborn Health: Newborn Screening for the Identification of Metabolic Disorders of Inborn Errors of Metablism (IEM) Enzo Ranieri, SA Neonatal Screening Centre
  • The Application of Molecular Biological Technologies in Prenatal Diagnosis Tze Kin LAU, The Chinese Fetal Medicine Foundation
  • NGS Technology in Clinical Genetic Practice in India – Successes and Pitfalls Ishwar Verma, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

Session 6: Animal Genomics

  • Chairman: Robin Gasser, University of Melbourne
  • The Genomics of Socioeconomically Important Parasites – Recent Breakthroughs and Prospects Robin Gasser, University of Melbourne
  • Strategies for de novo Assembling Complex Genomes Xiaodong Fang, BGI
  • Poultry Genomics: Current Status and Future Trends from Next Generation Sequencing David W. Burt, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • Genomics and Genetic Design of Pigs Lars Bolund, Aarhus University
  • Mining Important Agronomic Trait Genes by Evolutionary Genomics Wen Wang, Kunming Institute of Zoology, CAS

Session 7: Crop Genomics

  • Chairman: Yong Pyo Lim, Chungnam National University
  • Genetics to Genomics : Dissecting Brassica Genome for Applied Breeding Yong Pyo Lim, Chungnam National University
  • The Draft Aegilops tauschii Genome Sequencing and Its Application in Wheat Gene discovery and Breeding Jizeng Jia, Crop Science Research Institute, CAAS
  • Dynamic Changes of Rice Transcriptome Revealed by Large-scale RNA-seq Analysis Takeshi Itoh, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
  • New Trends in RNA Sequencing and the Emerging Impact on Crop Genomics David L. Delano, Illumina
  • Whole Genome Molecular Marker Assisted Selection—from Concepts to Application Gengyun Zhang, BGI
  • Next Generation Genomics for Hexaploid Wheat Mario Caccamo, The Genome Analysis Centre
  • Using Genetics to Protecting the World’s Cereal Crops from the Rust Diseases Robert Park, The University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute
  • Enabling Complete Transcriptome Sequencing with SENSE and SQUARE RNA-Seq. Alexander Seitz, Lexogen GmbH

Session 8: Disease Genomics-1

  • Chairman: Lennart Hammarstrom, Karolinska Institute
  • Genetic Analysis of Major Depression in 10,000 Chinese Women Using Low Pass Sequencing Data Jonathan Flint, Wellcome Trust Centre For Human Genetics
  • Integrated Systems Analysis of Schizophrenia Murray Cairns, University of Newcastle
  • Using Gene Expression Data to Help Identify Causal Genes in Inherited Disorders and Its Application to Brain Disorders Melanie Bahlo, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • New Functional Genomics Strategies to Find Conserved Regulators of Disease Greg Neely, Garvan Institute

Session 9: Disease Genomics-2

  • Chairman: Jonathan Flint, Wellcome Trust Centre For Human Genetics
  • Genetics of Early Onset Myasthenia Gravis Lennart Hammarstrom, Karolinska Institute
  • Frequent Observation of Human Betaretrovirus proviral Integrations in Autoimmune Liver Disease Gane Ka-Shu Wong, University of Alberta
  • Experience with Cardiogenetics Jumana Yousif Adeeb Al-Aama, King Abdulaziz University
  • Application of Second Generation Sequencing to Transplantation Rejection Arena Brendan Keating, University of Pennsylvania / Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • The Future of Genome Medicine in Patient Care Hakon Hakonarson, University of Pennsylvania / Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

WS1: Science and Society – An Open Discussion on Burning Issues

  • Chairman: Frederick Dubee, United Nations Global Compact; Atsun Guo, BGI
  • TBC Frederick Dubee, United Nations Global Compact
  • TBC Laurie Goodman, GigaScience
  • Ethical Issues Raised by Synthetic Biology Ruipeng Lei, Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Genomics and Human Dignity Xinyu Cheng, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Questions and Answers

  • Atsun Guo, BGI

Session 10: Marine Genomics

  • Chairman: B. Venkatesh, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A-STAR
  • Evolutionary History of the Early Branching Lineage of Vertebrates B. Venkatesh, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A-STAR
  • Whole Genome Sequencing, Assembly, and Annotation of Odontesthes Bonariensis (Pejerrey), a Fish with Temperature-dependent Sex Determination Guillermo Orti, George Washington University
  • How Did Ultrarapid Evolution Remodel the Chordate Genome in the Tunicate Branch Daniel Chourrout, Sars International Centre
  • Turtle also Follows the General Formulation of Embryonic Evolution Naoki Irie, University of Tokyo

Session 11: Personal Genome

  • Chairman: Cliff Reid, Complete Genomics
  • IntroductionCliff Reid, Complete Genomics
  • Personal Genomes, from Beginning to Today Dietrich Stephan, SVBio and Navigenics
  • Interpreting Genomes at Scale for Clinical Relevance Martin Reese, Omicia, Inc.
  • TBC Hai Mi, SB China Venture Capital Limited
  • TBC Brian Gu, JP Morgan

Session 12: Cancer Research-1

  • Chairman: Colin Collins, Vancouver Prostate Centre
  • The Challenges and Promises of Cancer Research: Lessons from the Laboratory Yuzhuo Wang, Vancouver Prostate Centre, BC Cancer Agency
  • Cancer Transcriptome Sequencing Tatsuhiro Shibata, Division of Cancer Genomics, National Cancer Center
  • Whole Genome Sequencing Analysis of Liver Cancer, Forwarding to Personalized Cancer Medicine Hidewaki Nakagawa, RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine
  • Identification of PCDHB3 as a Potential Tumor Suppressor Gene in Colorectal Cancer by Exome Sequencing: A Highthroughput Sequencing Study Wenlin Huang, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center
  • Biomarkers and Personalised Cancer Treatment — Clinical Validation and Application of ALK Fusion Testing in NSCLC Shuwen Huang, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Session 13: Genomic Evolution and Biodiversity

  • Chairman: Guojie Zhang, BGI
  • Comparative Genomics of Climate Change Adaptation Among Drosophila Species John Oakeshott, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
  • Artiodactyl Genome Evolution Harris A. Lewin, University of California, Davis
  • The Making of Differences Between Fins and Limbs: Developmental Aspects of Fin-to-limb Transition Koji Tamura,Tohoku University
  • Building the Link Between Micro-evolution and Macro-evolution -Lesson from Avian Phylogenomic Study Guojie Zhang, BGI
  • Genomic Hotspots of Adaptation- Reshuffling of Modular Enhancers Underlies Phenotypic Change in Heliconius Butterflies Owen McMillan, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Sequencing Virus Population, Divergence and Evolution Hui Wang, Centre For Ecology & Hydrology
  • Genomic Revolution in Inset Phylogeny and Biodiversity Studies Xin Zhou, BGI

Session 14: Open Platforms for Biological Data

  • Chairman: Peter Li, GigaScience
  • Using Galaxy for Metabolomics Robert Davidson, Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), Birmingham University
  • The IRRI Genotyping Service Laboratory Galaxy: Bioinformatics for Rice Scientists Ramil Mauleon, International Rice Research Institute
  • DNA Barcoding Illuminates Dark Taxa and Advances Turbo Taxonomy Robert Hanner, University of Guelph/Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
  • A new standard for eukaryotic species description, combining transcriptomic, DNA barcoding, and micro-CT imaging data Pavel Stoev, Pensoft Publishers Ltd.

Session 15: Informatics for Genomic Medicine

  • Genomic Medicine Pauline Ng, Genome Institute of Singapore
  • Research Data Management and Analysis as a Service : Experiences in building Globus Genomics Ravi K Madduri, Argonne National Laboratory Computation Institute, University of Chicago
  • Making a Definitive Diagnosis: On the Path to Realizing the Promise of Genomic Medicine Elizabeth Worthey, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Genomic Medicine and beyond in IBM Takahiko Koyama, IBM

Session 16: Cancer Research-2

  • Chairman: Qiang Pan Hammarstrom, Karolinska Institute
  • Genetic Identification of Key Pathways in Lung Adenocarcinoma Metastasis Qiang Pan Hammarstrom, Karolinska Institute
  • Probing the Cancer Methylome Stephan Beck, UCL Cancer Institute
  • Making Sense of Cancer Genomes Steve Rozen, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore
  • An Integrative Genomics Study on Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma Sanghyuk Lee, Ewha Womans University
  • Multidiscilinary Role in Molecular/Genomic Diagnostics and Personalized Cancer Medicine Dongfeng Tan, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Session 17: Metagenomics and Health

  • Chairman: Karsten Kristiansen, University of Copenhagen
  • Establishment of the Human Gut Microbiota after Birth Karsten Kristiansen, University of Copenhagen
  • Gut Microbiota—Our ‘Other’ Genome Huijue Jia, BGI
  • Elucidating the Role of Human Gut Microbiota in Diseases: Metagenomics to the Rescue Manimozhiyan Arumugam, University of Copenhagen
  • Deep Metagenomic Sequencing of Multiple Ruminant Guts Reveals Species-specific Microbiomes Mick Watson, ARK-Genomics, Centre for Comparative & Functional Genomics
  • Our Second Genome, Environment and Allergy are Related Petri Auvinen, University of Helsinki

WS2: Human Genomic Data and Society

  • Chairman: Laurie Goodman, GigaScience
  • Translating Scientific Information to the Public Laurie Goodman, GigaScience
  • Genetic Counseling and Genetic Testing in the Genomics Era Thong Meow Keong, University of Malaya
  • Conflicting Open Access data Sharing and Patient Privacy in Genome Association- Can We Fix This Steve O’Brien, St. Petersburg State University
  • Family Genome Analysis When Privacy Issues Are Not A Concern Manuel Corpas, Norwich Research Park
  • Strategies for Engaging the Public on Personal Genetics Ting Wu, Harvard Medical School
I note – I was invited to the BGI meeting that was co-hosted by my own institution – UC Davis last year  – but I turned down the invitation due to the gender ratio of speakers on their preliminary list.  This was certainly awkward for me and who knows if it did some damage to how I am viewed by some people on campus.  But we as a community need to take stands on such issues.  Sure – there are many explanations for why a meeting might have a skewed ratio of genders in the speakers. But given that this is a persistent / consistent pattern at meetings organized by BGI – I think this is at the point where I would definitely recommend people stop paying to attend their meetings.  And I would not recommend speaking at their meetings either.  That is, until they make a serious commitment to doing something about their apparent bias against women.  I would even go so far as to say it is time to consider not working with BGI in any way until they address this issue.

UPDATE – 12:00 PM 1/26 – Here are some of my previous posts about BGI organized meetings

UPDATE 2: 12:30 PM 1/26
Somewhat hard to find information on their past meetings on the web because they use a static web site for the meetings some years but I was able to find some information on their sites:

Another genomics meeting featuring men men men and men: International Forum on "Genomics, Innovation and economic growth"

Well this is just peachy.  Saw this tweet

And my first thought was – please – please – please let this meeting have a decent gender ratio. I am so so sick of genome meetings that have gender ratio issues. Alas, then I went to their site: International Forum “Genomics, Innovation and economic growth”

11 plenary speakers. All of them men.  See here.
Forum president: 1 man
Advisory Board: 5 men

Crap crap crap. What is WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

Nothing else to say really.  But I will not be going I guess I can say that.