28th Annual Workshop on Mathematical and Statistical Aspects of Molecular Biology

19th-20th March, 2018 University of St Andrews, Scotland



Bioinformatics and statistical genetics, twin themes of the long-running series of annual MASAMB meetings, have gained huge impetus from large-scale genome sequencing projects and development of high-throughput biological assay systems, including gene-expression, proteomic, metabolomic and single-cell genomics technologies. These immense data resources, and the underlying complexities of molecular and cell biology, provide exciting research opportunities for numerate scientists.

With typically around 80-120 participants from mathematics, statistics, computer science, bioinformatics, biology and related fields, the MASAMB meetings provide an intimate setting for exchanging ideas in methodological and applied research. Research students and scientists newly entering the field of genomic research are particularly welcome and encouraged to submit abstracts. Details of previous meetings are available at the MASAMB archive.

Likely topics for sessions this year

Next Generation Sequencing
Population Genetics
RNA Bioinformatics
Phylogeny and Comparative Genomics
Personalised medicine
Biological Networks
Systems Biology

Key dates

Registration opens December 15th, 2017
Abstract submission deadline

February 1st, 2018

February 8th, 2018

Registration ends

February 12th, 2018

March 1st, 2018

Conference March 19th-20th, 2018

MASAMB 2018 is grateful for sponsorship from:



registration . submission . committees


The registration fee is

  • 90 GBP for students
  • 130 GBP for researchers
  • 200 GBP for industry participants

Fees include conference attendance, coffee, lunches, and conference dinner. To register now please click here

Programme committee

Maria Anisimova (Zürich University of Applied Sciences)
Rui Borges (Vetmeduni Vienna)
Oscar Gaggotti (University of St Andrews)
Andy Gardner (University of St Andrews)
Tanja Gesell (University of Vienna)
Antti Honkela (University of Helsinki)
Carolin Kosiol (University of St Andrews)
Andy Lynch (University of St Andrews)
Silvia Paracchini (University of St Andrews)
Anne Smith (University of St Andrews)
Gergely Szöllösi (Eötvös University Budapest)


Submissions of abstracts for talks are closed now. However, we still accept submissions for posters till the 4th March 2018!

A one-half page abstract should be submitted through EasyChair. Please choose two session titles from likely topics that most closely match the topic of your talk/poster and enter them as Keyword 1 and Keyword 2. Other keywords can be added as wished. Note that abstracts will only be considered after an online registration form has been filled and the registration fees have been paid.

Local organising committee

Lianne Baker
Carolina Barata
Carolin Kosiol
Sylvia Paracchini
St Andrews Bioinformatics Unit (StABU)



monday . tuesday

Abstract book can be downloaded  here.

Monday 19th March:





13:45-14:00 Welcome and Introduction

Monday 19th March:
SESSION 1 Personal Medicine (Chairs: Silvia Paracchini, Andy Lynch)


Rowan Brackston and Michael Stumpf
Quasi-potential landscapes and transition states in stem cell development


Chantriolnt-Andreas Kapourani and Guido Sanguinetti
Bayesian modelling of single-cell methylomes


Ruth Bowness, Mark Chaplain, Gibin Powathil and Stephen Gillespie
Exploring dormancy in M. tuberculosis using a hybrid discrete-continuum cellular automaton model


Tommi Mäklin, Jukka Corander and Antti Honkela
Reliable detection of coexisting bacterial strains
15:20-15:40 Ricard Argelaguet, Britta Velten, Wolfgang Huber and Oliver Stegle
Multi-Omics factor analysis – a general framework for unsupervised integration of multi-omic data sets
Coffee Break

Monday 19th March:
SESSION 2 Systems Biology (Chairs: Anne Smith, Gergely Szöllősi)

16:10-16:30 Giorgos Minas and David Rand
Long-time analytic approximation of large stochastic oscillators: simulation, analysis and inference


Chiara Cotroneo, Michael Salter-Townshend and Denis Shields
Computational prediction of clusters of bacterial genes


Leanne Massie and Michael Stumpf
Synthetic Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria: A Whole Cell Modelling Approach


Grimur Hjorleifsson, Joe Wandy, Justin van der Hooft and Simon Rogers
Probabilistic prediction of amino acid content in microbial secondary metabolites produced by BGC families

Poster Session I


Conference dinner

Tuesday 20th March:
SESSION 3 Phylogeny and Population Genetics (Chairs: Oscar Gaggotti, Andy Gardner)


Andreas Futschik
Statistical tests for genomic time series data


Francisco Perez-Reche, Ovidiu Rotariu, Norval Strachan and Ken Forbes
Fast method to trace the origin of infectious diseases with whole genome sequencing data


Benjamin Singer, Antonello Di Nardo, Luca Ferretti and Jotun Hein
Approaches to Phylogeographic Incompatibility under Recombination


Rui Borges, Gergely Szöllősi and Carolin Kosiol
Identifying fixation biases using the stationary distribution of the multivariate Moran model with allelic selection


Bill Amos
Do modern non-African humans carry 2% Neanderthal DNA?

Coffee Break

Tuesday 20th March:
SESSION 4 Systems Biology (Chairs: Anne Smith, Rui Borges)


Karol Nienałtowski, Tomasz Jetka and Michał Komorowski
Bayesian approach to reconstruction of time series from snapshot data


Thalia Chan, Ananth Pallaseni, Ann Babtie, Kirsten McEwen and Michael Stumpf
Empirical Bayes Meets Information Theoretical Network Reconstruction


Thomas Leyshon and Michael Stumpf
Turing Instabilities in Boolean Networks: An Algebraic Geometry Perspective


Lida Mavrogonatou and Vladislav Vyshemirsky
Bayesian experimental design for model ranking in Systems Biology 

Photo & Lunch break & Poster session II

Tuesday 20th March:
SESSION 5 RNA-SEQ and Genomics (Chairs: Silvia Paracchini, Carolin Kosiol)


Jonathan Griffiths, Arianne Richard, Karsten Bach, Aaron Lun and John Marioni
Detection and removal of barcode swapping in single-cell RNA-seq data


Joseph Ward, Elisabetta Versace, Giorgio Vallortigara and Silvia Paracchini
Comparing and using multiple tools for RNAseq


Anderson Brito and John Pinney
Evolutionary dynamics of herpesvirus protein domains


Christopher Penfold, Anastasiya Sybirna and Azim Surani
Pseudospace ordering of cells from mammalian embryos using scRNA-seq data and GPLVMs with spatially-informative priors


Sumon Ahmed, Magnus Rattray and Alexis Boukouvalas
GrandPrix: Scaling up the Bayesian GPLVM for single-cell data
16:00 FINISH (PUB)



travel . accommodation . meals



The Premier Inn in St Andrews has a block booking of 20 rooms for 72.00GBP per night (double room single occupancy) that can be booked as package during the registration. If you wish to share the room (e.g., twin room) please contact the Premier Inn mentioning “MASAMB” to get one of the reserved rooms.

Delegates can also  arrange their own accommodation.

Hotels, guest houses, B&B

Please note that St Andrews is a small town, so book early!



The conference is taking place in the Medical School lecture theatre (North Haugh Campus, see map below).

Lunches and posters will also be in this building.



Coffee, tea and lunches will be provided.

There will be a conference dinner at Lower College Hall.

All other meals  to be arranged by delegates.



Directions to St Andrews by road, rail, or air.

Taxis from Edinburgh Airport can be cost effective if you share: Local taxi companies.



Tourist Information

Conference Venue


Conference Venue

Medical and Biological Sciences Building University of St Andrews North Haugh St Andrews Fife KY16 9TF