Prof. Seán O’Donoghue
CSIRO, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Seán O’Donoghue is a Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO, a Laboratory Head at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, and a Conjoint Professor in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science (BABS), University of New South Wales. He received his BSc (Hons) and PhD in biophysics from the University of Sydney, Australia. Much of his career was spent in Germany at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and at Lion Bioscience AG. He has been awarded a C. J. Martin Fellowship from the NHMRC, an Achievement Award from Lion Bioscience, and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He leads several bioinformatics projects, including Reflect (first prize, Elsevier Grand Challenge), VizbiPlus (Finalist, 2015 NSW Emerging Creative Talent Award), and Aquaria (first prize, 2015 NSW iAward for Research and Development). He also chairs VIZBI, an international initiative aimed at improving data visualisation in bioinformatics.
The rapid increase in volume and complexity of biomedical data requires changes in research, communication, training, and clinical practices. This includes learning how to effectively integrate automated analysis with high-data-density visualisations that clearly express complex phenomena. In this talk, I will present some key principles and resources from data visualisation research that can help address these difficult challenges. I will then present selected examples showing how visualisation is being used in emerging biomedical research areas, including: 3D genomics, the protein structure universe, and phosphoproteomics. Unfortunately, poor visualisation practices are still common; however, there are good prospects for improvements and innovations that will revolutionise how we see and think about our data. I will outline ongoing initiatives aimed at fostering these improvements via better tools, rigorous evaluation, peer-to-peer learning, and interdisciplinary collaboration.