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Microsoft Biology Foundation Workshop 2011, Redmond

Microsoft Biology Foundation Workshop 2011The Microsoft Biology Initiative hosted a one-day workshop on the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF), an open-source Microsoft .NET library and application programming interface for bioinformatics research. The MBF workshop was held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington, on March 11, 2011. This workshop included a quick introduction to Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, the .NET Framework, C#, and the MBF object model. Attendees participated in hands-on labs and wrote a sample application that employs the file parsers, algorithms, and web connectors in MBF. The workshop was open to everyone and registration was free of charge.

Workshop Program

The program covered the modules that are listed on the Microsoft Biology Foundation Training site and summarized below. The sessions combined lectures and hands-on labs; therefore, to get the most benefit from the workshop, we recommended that participants bring a laptop with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 installed. Students and educators can install Visual Studio 2010 for free from Microsoft Dreamspark. Alternatively, anyone can install Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express for free. Breakfast and lunch were provided. 




Modules 1–2


Lunch Break


Modules 3–4


Coffee Break


Modules 5–6


Questions and Answers


Module 1: Introduction to Visual Studio 2010 and C#

This is a comprehensive introduction to the Microsoft Visual Studio programming environment and Microsoft .NET. Learn how to create a project, what is .NET, how to get started with C#, and runtime debugging. The hands-on lab helps you get experience building applications in Visual Studio 2010. It walks you through the steps required to create a console application, interfaces and types that implement those interfaces in C#, a library to hold common (shared) code, and a simple Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application by using the shared library.

Module 2: Introduction to the Microsoft Biology Foundation

This module provides an overview of the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF), its scenarios, architecture, and a starter project. It also provides an introduction to the source code and unit tests required for contributing back to the open-source project. The hands-on lab helps you get experience working with sequences, parsers, formatters, and the transcription algorithm that is supplied in MBF. It walks you through the steps required to build a simple Windows Forms application that can load a set of sequences from a file, transcribe them, and then write those sequences to the same or a different file.

Module 3: Working with Sequences

This module examines the Sequence data type in MBF. Learn how to load sequences into memory and save them, the different sequence types available, how to use sequence metadata, and how data virtualization support enables support for large data sets. The hands-on lab familiarizes you with managing sequences and sequence items by using MBF interfaces, properties, and methods to create a WPF application to visualize the data.

Module 4: Parsers and Formatters

This module explores MBF’s built-in sequence parsers, formatters, alphabets, and encoders. It also introduces the method of expanding MBF with custom alphabets, parsers, and formatters. The hands-on lab walks you through the steps that are required to build a simple custom parser and formatter for a fabricated biology data format, and then plug it into MBF and the sequence viewer/editor that were created in Module 3.

Module 5: Algorithms

This module examines the algorithms defined in MBF for sequence alignment, multi-sequence alignment, sequence fragment assembly, transcription, translation, and pattern matching against sequences, and explains how to create custom algorithms. The hands-on lab walks you through the steps required to build an application to run algorithms against sequences loaded with MBF and perform sequence alignment, assembly, and transformations.

Module 6: Web Services

This module introduces Microsoft .NET web services, the web service architecture in MBF, the built-in web service support in MBF for BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), and ClustalW; how to call these services asynchronously; and presents a detailed example of how to build custom service wrappers. The hands-on lab walks you through the steps of building an application that executes the BLAST algorithm by using web services against sequences loaded with MBF. You get some experience loading and identifying web service handlers for BLAST, passing sequences and sequence fragments to BLAST, changing the BLAST parameters, and displaying the results from a BLAST run.

Date and Time

Friday, March 11, 2011
8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.


Microsoft Conference Center
Building 33
16070 NE 36th Way
Redmond, WA 98052

(425) 703-1800

Contact Us

Send email to the organizing committee if you have questions.