The SIG Beat


NEW SIG: Pathology Informatics Scientific Interest Group

Pathology informatics (PI) is an emerging multidisciplinary field of cutting-edge pathology that incorporates various types of pathology data: digital images, laboratory information and molecular data. As such, investigators from disparate fields (computer science, engineering, mathematics, and pathology) can contribute significantly. The goal of this SIG is to create a collegial environment, drawing from professional expertise within the NIH as well as from the Greater Washington, D.C.–Baltimore corridor to explore the digital-pathology, image-analysis, and information-technology aspects of pathology informatics. The group plans to meet once a month, alternating invited guest speakers and SIG member presentations. In addition, networking opportunities and LISTSERV-based communication (BELTWAY-PATHOLOGY-INFORMATICS@LIST.NIH.GOV) will serve as a primary mechanism for collaborative discussions and brainstorming. Contact Jason Hipp ( or Avi Rosenberg ( for more information.

NEW SIG: Optogenetics Interest Group

Optogenetics describes the integration of optics and genetics to control precisely defined events within specific cells, such as driving or inhibiting the firing of neurons with pulses of light. Since its invention, optogenetics has revolutionized neuroscience research and led to breakthroughs in understanding of anxiety, depression, Parkinson disease, and other neurological disorders. In 2010, optogenetics was chosen as the Method of the Year across all fields of science and engineering by the interdisciplinary research journal Nature Methods. As a relatively new technique, optogenetic methods have changed and improved rapidly over the past few years. The new Optogenetics SIG will meet monthly to discuss new technical advances and applications as well as help other scientists at the NIH start using this powerful method. Contact Alexxai Kravitz at ( for more information.