Data Visualisation and the Dark Proteome


Friday, 13 May, 2016 -
12:00 to 13:00


Rountree Room 356, Level 3, Biological Sciences Building D26, UNSW Kensington


School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences

Type of event: 


Audience / Guests: 

Public / All

The rapidly increasing volume and complexity of biological data calls for new approaches to help life scientists gain insight from these data, rather than being overwhelmed. To address this, the application of modern data visualization principles and methods will be critical, in combination with improved data management, machine learning, and statistics. Dr Sean O’Donoghue will illustrate the power of this 'BioVis' approach by presenting several bioinformatics resources that empower biologists by making complex data easier to access and use. This includes Aquaria (, Minardo (, and Rondo ( He will showcase how these resources are being used to explore the known and unknown ('dark') proteome, generating new insights into human biology and health. Dr Sean O’Donoghue will also discuss VIZBI, an international initiative aimed at raising the global standard of bioinformatics software ( Finally, he will discuss the use of visualization to create molecular and cellular-scale animations aimed at educating and inspiring the public about cutting-edge biomedical research (


Seán O’Donoghue is an Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader in Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Sydney. He is also Group Leader and Senior Faculty Member at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. He received his B.Sc. (Hons) and PhD in biophysics from the University of Sydney, Australia. Much of his career was spent in Heidelberg, Germany, where he worked in the Structural and Computational Biology programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and at Lion Bioscience AG - then the world's largest bioinformatics company - where he was Director of Scientific Visualization. From 2012-2015 he was also CSIRO's representative on the EMBL-Australia council, and chaired the EMBL-Australia Bioinformatics Advisory Committee.

He has been actively engaged in bioinformatics research since 1988. He contributed to the development of ARIA, a method widely used for calculating 3D structures from NMR data. Since then, he has initiated and is leading several projects, including VizBi, an international initiative aimed at improving data visualization and user experience in bioinformatics software; VizbiPlus, aimed at educating and inspiring the general public about cutting-edge biomedical research (Finalist, 2015 NSW Emerging Creative Talent Award); Aquaria (first prize, 2015 NSW iAward for Research and Development), a resource that simplifies discovery and insight from protein structures; Martini, a resource for comparing gene lists; Minardo, a method for visualizing the time-course of posttranslational events in cells (finalist, 2015 Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research); and Reflect, a browser plug-in designed to help in understanding life science literature that is widely used by many life scientists (first prize,

His contributions have been recognised with a C. J. Martin Fellowship from the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia, an Achievement Award from Lion Bioscience AG, and by being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014.