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Highlights from the 5th Symposium on Biological Data Visualization: Part 2

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BMC Proceedings20159 (Suppl 6) :S1

  • Published:


  • Quality Work
  • High Quality Paper
  • High Quality Work
  • Visualization Field
  • Pathway Visualization

The expanding experimental methodology and resulting data of biological research create significant challenges for computational visualization techniques. The goal of BioVis 2015 - the 5th Symposium on Biological Data Visualization - is to organize a premier international and interdisciplinary event for all aspects of visualization in biology. The BioVis 2015 symposium is affiliated with ISMB, the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology conference, as a Special Interest Group (SIG). BioVis 2015 took place in Dublin, Ireland, July 10-11 2015.

All papers were reviewed by reviewers from both the bioinformatics and visualization fields and were evaluated for improvements over state-of-the-art and for scientific soundness. The review process was organized in two review cycles. In the first review cycle, each paper was reviewed by three to four reviewers. In the second review cycle, the primary reviewers checked whether the required revisions for conditionally accepted papers were successfully included. Based on the reviewers' scores, reviews, and recommendations, the BioVis 2015 Paper and Publication Chairs and BMC Proceedings Section Editor together selected those that would be published in BMC Proceedings.

The papers from BioVis 2015 appear in two different proceedings: As "Proceedings of the 5th Symposium on Biological Data Visualization: Part 1" in a BMC Bioinformatics supplement ( as "Proceedings of the 5th Symposium on Biological Data Visualization: Part 2" in these BMC Proceedings. The highest quality papers were selected for the BMC Bioinformatics supplement. Those papers that feature high quality work but were not accepted for the BMC Bioinformatics supplement are published in BMC Proceedings. From the 21 papers submitted to BioVis 2015, 9 papers are published in the BMC Bioinformatics supplement and 5 papers are published in these BMC Proceedings.

The articles in these Proceedings cover an interesting spectrum of challenging problems in biological data visualization and their solutions. First, several papers address the issue of pathway visualization. Dang et al. make two contributions, presenting both a glyph/matrix-based visualization to investigate one-to-one relationships between proteins [1], and a method for inferring causality within pathways [2]. In addition, Paduano and Forbes [3] describe an approach for multi-level exploration of hierarchical pathways and pathway comparison. Second, Jung et al. [4] describe their software for investigating the relationships between miRNA and mRNA expression levels. Finally, Rumpf et al. [5] approach the issue of how to represent conformational changes in molecules from a flow-visualization standpoint.

We hope that the collection of papers in these Proceedings will educate, inspire, and engage visualization researchers in problems in biological data visualization, as well as bioinformatics and biology researchers in state-of-the-art visualization research.


Authors’ Affiliations

Visual Data Analysis Lab, ESAT/STADIUS, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
iMinds Medical IT, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Electronic Visualization Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago, 851 S. Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Center for Bioinformatics, University of Tübingen, Sand 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia and British Columbia Cancer Agency, 675 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1L3, Canada
Institute of Computer Graphics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Altenberger Straße 69, 4020 Linz, Austria
VISUS, University of Stuttgart, Allmandring 19, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany


  1. Dang TN, Murray P, Forbes AG: PathwayMatrix: visualizing binary relationships between proteins in biological pathways. BMC Bioinformatics. 2015, 9 (Suppl 6): S3-Google Scholar
  2. Dang TN, Murray P, Aurisano J, Forbes AG: ReactionFlow: an interactive visualization tool for causality analysis in biological pathways. BMC Bioinformatics. 2015, 9 (Suppl 6): S6-Google Scholar
  3. Paduano F, Forbes AG: Extended LineSets: a visualization technique for the interactive inspection of biological pathways. BMC Bioinformatics. 2015, 9 (Suppl 6): S4-Google Scholar
  4. Jung D, Bohyoung K, Freishtat RJ, Giri M, Hoffman E, Jinwook S: miRTawVis: an interactive visual tool for microRNA-mRNA expression profile data. BMC Bioinformatics. 2015, 9 (Suppl 6): S2-Google Scholar
  5. Dahdoun SM, Rumpf RW, Shindhelm AD, Ray WC: MoFlow: visualizing conformational changes in molecules as molecular flow improves understanding. BMC Bioinformatics. 2015, 9 (Suppl 6): S5-Google Scholar


© Aerts et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.