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About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot


Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE



Robbins' presentations that have been captured as videos are shown here.

2013: Big Data: Yet Another Buzzword or Actual Big Deal?

Presentation by R J Robbins at BRIITE Annual Meeting, 11-13 Dec, 2013. Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA

The invention of digital information storage technology is allowing the amount of stored information on Earth to grow at an incredible rate. In 1986, 99% of stored information was in analog form; today 99.9% is digital. When n is approaching all, that is, when it is possible to access data on all relevant subjects, analyses change in both quantitative and qualitative ways. If "de-identified" data sets can be joined with other data sets, de-identification becomes impossible.

Slide Sets from Invited Talks

These are slide sets that were used during specific talks. The slides are as they were presented and no effort is made to update their content. There is a fair amount of redundancy in the content of the different presentations, as many deal with similar problems, presented for different audiences.

2016: Adding Sidenotes to a PDF File

Technical Briefing Presentation. 2016. Board Meeting, Genetics Society of America, Seattle, WA

2016: Reconceiving Biodiversity: Implications from (Meta)Genomics

Invited talk: Ottawa, Canada, 1 Jun 2016

2014: Genomics and Metagenomics: What is the Role of the Darwin Core?

TDWG 2014 Annual Conference Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping, Sweden, October 27-31, 2014

2013: Big Data: Yet Another Buzzword or Actual Big Deal?

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 11 - 13 Dec, 2013. Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA

2012: How Diverse is the Biosphere?

TDWG 2012 Annual Conference, People's Palace, Beijing, China 22-26 Oct 2012.

2012: Data Management for LTER@100

2012 LTER All Scientists Meeting, 10-13 Sep, 2012. Estes Park, CO

2012: Aligning Expectations with Resources: What's the Trick

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 5 - 7 Sep, 2012. St Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN

2012: Half of Our Biosphere is Missing

Keynote Presentation, Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference 2012. Copenhagen, Denmark, 2-4 Jul 2012

2012: Biodiversity Working Group Report

Genomic Standards Consortium, Annual Meeting, 5 - 7 Mar, 2012. Shenzhen, China

2011: Biodiversity Working Group Report

Genomic Standards Consortium, Annual Meeting, 28-30 Sep, 2011. Bremen, Germany

2011: IT Architecture: Mastering Complexity With Design

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 7-9 Sep 2011. St Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN

2008: Data Centers Get Serious: Unlimited Demand Meets Practical Reality

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 10-12 Sep 2008. St Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN

2007: Implementing Security without Inhibiting Research: Mission Impossible

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 3 - 5 Oct, 2007. University of California @ San Francisco, Mission Bay Campus San Francisco, CA

2006: Sharing Digital Biological Data: Historical Successes and Continuing Challenges

MGED9 Meeting, Seattle, WA, 6-7 Sep, 2006

2006: Research Computing Grows Up

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 3 - 5 May, 2006. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York

2006: Data Sharing: Different Needs, Different Solutions

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 19-20 Apr, 2006. NIH, Natcher Conference Center, Bethesda, MD

2005: Multi-Institution Collaborative Computing: What does it really take?

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 2 - 4 Nov, 2005. Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA.

2005: Data Management in the Research Laboratory: The Sine Qua Non of 21st-Century Science

Invited Talk, Mayo Clinic, 2005

2005: IT operations: Making IT Work in a Profoundly Heterogeneous Environment

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 27 - 29 Apr, 2005. MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

2005: GLAAAS: Global Authentication, Authorization, and Auditing System Logical Requirements for Access Control in aTotally Federated Environment

Educause CAMP Med Workshop: Identity and Access Management for Medical Applications. 2005 Feb 9-11; Baltimore, Maryland.

2005: The Future of BioDiversity Informatics What's Possible, What's Not

GBIF Workshop: Building species banks: How shall we shape the future? University of Amsetrdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2-4 Mar 2005

2004: Strategic Planning for IT Support of Grant-funded Research, II: Where are we now and where should we be going?

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 22 - 24 Sep, 2004. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

(582,046 bytes; 121 slides)

2004: Information Technology and 21stCentury Biology: Bioinformatics and Beyond

Invited Talk, Professional Development Day, Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, WA 5 Nov 2004

(582,046 bytes; 121 slides)

2004: Object Identity and Life Science Research

W3C Workshop on Semantic Web for Life Sciences Cambridge, Massachusetts USA, 27-28 October 2004,

(582,046 bytes; 121 slides)

2003: Institutional Standards: The Critical Missing Piece

NIST Workshop: Information Science Standards to Enable Biomedical Research Bethsda, MD, 4-5 Nov, 2003

2003: IT Support for Grant Funded Research: Strategic Issues

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 10 - 12 Sep, 2003. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

2003: Digital Publishing Support

BRIITE Semi-annual Meeting, 10 - 12 Sep, 2003. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

2001: Bioinformatics and the New Information Technologies

The Canadian Biodiversity Network Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, 1 - 4 Mar, 2001

2000: Leadership by Example: Biomedical and Genome Informatics

AAAS annual Meeting, 17 - 22 Feb, 2000. Washington, DC.

(481,690 bytes; 98 slides)

1998: Economic Impact of Bioinformatics

ATCC Bioinformatics Symposium, 6 November 1998. Bethesda, Maryland.

(3,072,440 bytes; 120 slides)

1998: Information, Logistics, and 21st Century Research

Cancer Centers Administrators Forum, 12 October 1998. Portland, Oregon.

(2,323,492 bytes; 139 slides)

1998: Information Technology: The Foundation for 21st Century Research

Keynote Address, Self Graduate Fellowship Retreat, 16-18 August 1998. Kansas City, Missouri.

(723,821 bytes; 138 slides)

1998: What is Biological Informatics?

Keynote Address, Australian National Academy of Sciences Conference on Biological Informatics, 6-8 July 1998. Canberra, Australia.

(1,392,640 bytes; 96 slides)

1997: Next Steps for Working Scientists: Access to Data

CODATA Conference on Scientific and Technical Data Exchange and Integration, 15-17 December 1997. Bethesda, Maryland

(532,262 bytes; 104 slides)

1997: 21st Century Biology: Informatics in the Post-Genome Era.

The Pfizer Inc.- Olga G. Nalbandov / Beckman Institute Symposium on Bioinformatics, Structure, and Function, 29 May - 1 June 1997. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

(1,831,070 bytes; 128 slides)

1996: Information Management: The Key to the Human Genome Project

Current Topics in Health Science Librarianship, 27 June 1996. Johns Hopkins University.

(907,560 bytes; 122 slides)

1996: New Technologies for Research Administration

Breifing Presentation, given to science research administrators and intended to explain the (then) new WWW and how it might affect research administration.

1995: Genome Informatics, the Sine Qua Non of Genomic Research

Fourth International Conference on Bioinformatics & Genome Research, 5-7 June 1995, San Francisco, California.

(69,777 bytes; 16 pages)

1994: Computer Applications in Biology: New Tools, New Insights, New Science

Special Seminar: Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 15 April 1994.

(1,779,851 bytes; 68 transparencies - 8.5 x 11 format)

1994: Information Infrastructure for Biology: Electronic Publishing on the Global Information Highway

Special Seminar: School of Library and Information Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1 November 1994.

(1,779,851 bytes; 36 pages)

1994: Federal Support for Bio-Informatics

Briefing Presentation. Board of Directors, National Center for Genome Resources, Santa Fe, New Mexico 10 Oct 1994

1994: Computing the Genome: Efforts to Reverse Engineer Humans

Invited Talk: David D. Lattanze Center, Baltimore, MD, 7 Apr 1994.

1994: Comparative Genomics: A New Integrative Biology

Invited Talk: Workshop on Integrative Approaches to Molecular Biology, Cuernavac, Mexico, 20-24 Feb 1994.

RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

21454 NE 143rd Street
Woodinville, WA 98077


E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )