IBS Italy

International Biometric Society - Italian region

COSTNET Networking Biostatistics


The Italian and Dutch IBS regions organise COSTNET Networking Biostatistics meeting and training school!

Milano, 12-13 April 2018

Networking Biostatistics is a short international COSTNET conference organized by Italian and Dutch IBS regions to promote networks among IBS regions, networks among biostatisticians, early career researchers and PhD students, and collaboration among biomedical researchers and biostatisticians in general, looking for network procedures and statistical methods for a real contribution in modelling biomedical data. The main challenge of this European Cooperation for Statistics of Network Data Science (COSTNET) conference is “to create a broad community which includes researchers across the whole of Europe and at every stage in their scientific career and to facilitate contact with stakeholders”.

The conference includes five parts:
1. Invited speakers session: speakers invited from COSTNET belonging two IBS regions (italian-dutch) on advanced methods for biomedical data.
2. Short posters presentation: poster contributions will be introduced with a 5 minutes flash presentation.
3. Posters session with awards.
4. Round table with spontaneous contributions on “Networking biomedical researchers and biostatisticians: from big Data to Big information”
5. Two short courses on network modelling.

The Conference held in Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan which is one of the most important University Hospitals in Italy and one of the leading research and medical centers in Italy and Europe.


Call for abstracts

We invite you to submit abstracts for poster presentations. Submissions from all biostatistics topics are encouraged. During the meeting, also 5 minute flash oral poster presentations will be scheduled and a Scientific Committee will award the two best posters.

Each abstract submission must include: title, list of authors with author affiliations and abstract text. Each submission must have an abstract text with maximum length of 2,500 characters (including spaces).

Abstracts can be submitted by sending an email to netbiostat@ibs-italy.org (extended deadline: 25th March). Accepted abstract will be notified on 28rd March.

Short abstract or ideas for Friday’s round table are also welcome.



Thursday 12 April

 Aula Seneca
10:00-10:20Welcome – Opening speech
10:20-10:55Maria Grazia Valsecchi, Università Milano Bicocca (IT)
Validation of a surrogate marker for a survival endpoint with application in childhood oncology
10:55-11:30Bianca Papi, Rotterdam (NL) and Francesca Bravi, Milan (IT)
Dutch-Italian collaboration in Human Milk research
11:30-12:00Coffee break
12:00-12:35 Veronica Vinciotti, Brunel University London (UK)
Censored Gaussian graphical model for high-dimensional qPCR data
12:35-13:10 Luca Tardella, Università La Sapienza, Roma (IT)
Algorithms and diagnostics for the analysis of rankings with the Extended plackett-luce model
14:30-15:05Ernst Wit, University of Groeningen (NL)
GWAS, epistasis and statistical networks
15:05-15:40Francesco Stingo, Università degli Studi di Firenze (IT)
A network-based approach to imaging genetics
15:40-16:15Mark van de Wiel, VU, University (NL)
Improving high-dimensional prediction by empirical Bayes learning from co-data
16:15-16:45Coffee break
16:45-19:00Flash oral poster presentation + poster session
20:00Social dinner

Friday 13 April

 Aula ArchimedeAula Seneca
9:00-10:45Course 1: Co-data learning: the group-regularized ridge and elastic net [Instructor: prof. Mark van de Wiel]Poster session [starting at 9:30]
10:45-11:15Coffee break
11:15-13:00Course 1: Co-data learning: the group-regularized ridge and elastic net [Instructor: prof. Mark van de Wiel]Round Table: Networking biomedical researchers and biostatisticians: from big Data to Big information
Moderator: Clelia Di Serio and Ernst Wit
Participation of prof. Giuseppe Banfi, Prorector for research UniSR: Value-based healthcare and its promotion
13:00-13:15Closing remarks & Poster Awards
14:30-16:15Course 2: Graphical models and applications to genomics [part 1: Fundamentals on graphical models. Instructor: prof. Paola Vicard]
16:15-16:45Coffee break
16:45-18:30Course 2: Graphical models and applications to genomics [part 2. Introduction to graphical models in R: application in genomics. Instructor : prof. Francesco Stingo]
18:30 - Social event (TBD)

Round Table: “Networking biomedical researchers and biostatisticians: from big Data to Big information”

The round table moderated by prof. Clelia di Serio and prof. Ernst Wit will begin with some short talks to stimulate the discussion:
Prof. Giuseppe Banfi, Prorector for research UniSR: Value-based healthcare and its promotion;
Dr. Roberto Buccione, Head of OSR Research integrity Office: Responsible conduct and ethics of biostatistical consulting in biomedical research;
Prof. Elia Biganzoli, Biostatistics professor at University of Milano: Integrating biostatistics in BigData for Healthcare.
Dr. Eugenio Montini, Group Leader of Safety of Gene Therapy Unit at TIGET: The importance of statistics in gene therapy applications for rare diseases.

Short course 1 [on Friday morning]: “Co-data learning: the group-regularized ridge and elastic net” (prof. Mark van de Wiel)

We discuss some ideas and theory behind two algorithms for co-data learning. We start with GRridge, which is is based on ridge regression, and covers linear, binary and survival response. We suggest several types of co-data, focussing primarily on cancer genomics applications. We illustrate the corresponding package, after which the participants are challenged to perform an analysis by themselves. The second algorithm, grEN, is based on the Bayesian logistic elastic net and hence tailored to sparser settings. After discussing the main ideas behind grEN, the corresponding package is demonstrated. A comparison with GRridge is presented. Then, if time permits, participants may perform a grEN analysis themselves.


Short course 2 [on Friday afternoon]: “Introduction to graphical models and applications to genomics”

Part I : Introduction to graphical models: Fundamentals (prof. Paola Vicard)
Part II : Introduction to Graphical Models in R : examples in genomics” (prof. Francesco Stingo)

We will explore some basic concepts in Graphical models with the support of the statistical software R. We will start with visualization, and then focus on estimation, interpretation of the parameters, and model selection. Participants will be encouraged to perform the aforementioned tasks in R by themselves. All examples will be borrowed from the bio-medical sciences and particularly from genomics. The discussion of more challenging network problems in genomics will conclude the course.




Registration fees

Member of COSTNET Action CA15109 free1
IBS member or Student (even not IBS member) 1302
Not IBS member 1802

1The fee includes the participation to the meeting and to the two courses, coffee breaks (Social dinner is not included and costs 35 euro, lunches are not included but lunch tickets can be bought at 18 euro per day)

2The fee includes the participation to the meeting and to the two courses, coffee breaks, lunches and social dinner. For participants which are not already IBS members, the fee includes also the IBS membership.

After you register you will shortly receive an email with the final amount and payment details. Bank transfer is the only available payment procedure.



We provide and accommodation & subsistence package per day (with the possibility of choosing the days for which it is needed), which is guaranteed for up to 30 persons for requests until 15th March.
The package includes lunch+dinner+accommodation (including breakfast) at 150 euro per day, for Thursday 12th April and Friday 13th April (the dinner on Thursday will be the social dinner). The package includes only dinner+accommodation (including breakfast) at 130 euro for Wednesday 11th April. For the participants without the free registration fee, the costs of lunch tickets (18 euro each) and social dinner (35 euro) will be deduced from the cost of the package, when included.
The accommodation will be at Hotel NH Milano 2 (https://www.nh-hotels.it/hotel/nh-milano-2) or at Hotel NH Milano 2 Residence (https://www.nh-hotels.it/hotel/nh-milano-2-residence), which are nearby the meeting and course venue.


COSTNET reimbursement [for students and COSTNET CA15109 member only]

Students (even not already members of COSTNET Action CA15109) or members of COSTNET Action CA15109 may ask for the reimbursement of travel (public transportations), meal and accommodation expenses following COSTNET rules. Meals and accommodation will be reimbursed with the following flat rates: the flat rate for meals (only lunches and dinners) is 20 euros/meal and the flat rate for accommodation (including breakfast) is 120 euro/night. A participant can ask for the reimbursement only about the day(s) of attendance of the event + one day. Students from Milan may ask only for meal reimbursement for the days of attendence.
For all other rules, see the COSTNET Vademecum (www.cost.eu/download/COSTVademecum).
Up to 30 requests will be accepted and the requests can be sent together with the registration until 15th March. The COSTNET financial support will be confirm after 15th March, depending on the number of requests and their distribution among the countries that are members of the COSTNET Action CA15109.
Students, not members of the COSTNET Action CA15109 but for which the request of COSTNET reimbursement is accepted, will be considered as members of COSTNET Action CA15109 and thus they will not have to pay the registration fee.

Cancellation policy

If after registering you are unable to attend the event, no refund will be available. Nevertheless, we allow you to transfer your registration to another colleague (with the same types of memberships), by sending an email as soon as possible to netbiostat@ibs-italy.org.


Register to the meeting now!




If you have further questions or you need more info about this event you can email us at netbiostat@ibs-italy.org

How to reach the meeting venue

Find the directions from airports and train stations at the following link:



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