Bioinformatics Education, Training, and Research in Africa: A Recap of Omics Logic Africa Speaker Sessions

As a result of a growing number of research studies being conducted on African populations, there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of -omics data generated in Africa. Despite the advances, there still remain several challenges in bioinformatics education, training, and research in Africa. To address these challenges and gain new insights to resolve them, we brought together a panel of experts from the bioinformatics and data science community in Africa for our Omics Research Symposium in March 2022. Let us take a brief glimpse into some of the key highlights discussed during the symposium. 

 

“In tackling various threats faced by the whole world including - food security, climate change, and healthcare challenges, bioinformatics has become an indispensable tool,” says Dr. Charles Oluwaseun Adetunji, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Ag Dean Faculty of Science Edo State University Uzairue while discussing the various innovative bioinformatics research happening in Africa and the impact it has on the world. He is presently a faculty member at the Microbiology Department, where he utilizes the application of biological techniques and microbial bioprocesses for the actualization of sustainable development goals and agrarian revolution, through quality teaching, research, and community development. One of the key takeaways from his talk during the symposium is the significance of the transdisciplinary approach in bioinformatics. To learn about what is transdisciplinary approach and how it is used in the field of bioinformatics.

 

Another exciting talk we had during the symposium was by Dr. Verena Ras, Training and Outreach Coordinator, H3ABioNet, South Africa. The role of a bioinformatician in science communication and education can be pretty interesting and diverse! From lecturing, and course coordination, to developing training models for scientific research and public outreach, Dr. Ras shares her roles and responsibilities as a Training and Outreach Coordinator at H3ABioNet. The organization was built to develop bioinformatics capacity and to enable genomic data analysis in Africa. As a part of her talk on bioinformatics education in Africa and the DSI-Africa Initiative, she also discussed how she is improving educational materials and training resources for the students through internships, live online training, and hackathons/data jamborees.

 

This was followed by a panel discussion where Dr. Charles and Dr. Ras were joined by Dr. Voke Toye, Founder and Managing Consultant, Biologix Support Services, Dr. Elijah Kolawole Oladipo, Ag. Head of Department, Department of Microbiology at Adeleke University, and Mr. Adekunle Adeluwoye, Program Director, Pine Biotech, Africa. Some of the topics discussed during the panel discussion were: “How far Africa has come in terms of bioinformatics education?”, “How to involve more students in bioinformatics training?” “Are we still early into bioinformatics education in Africa?”. According to Dr. Charles, one of the major ways we can address these challenges is by revisiting the existing bioinformatics curriculum at schools, colleges, and universities for improvement. In addition to this, Dr. Elijah expressed a similar opinion wherein he emphasized the need for improving the “quality” of bioinformatics education delivered across Africa. To end the discussion on a positive note, Dr. Ras shared her thoughts on the changing perspective of bioinformatics education in Africa and why she firmly believes that we can learn anything if we have a passion to learn about it.

   

 

Were you not able to attend the March 2022 Omics Research Symposium? Don’t worry! Another one is coming up at the end of August:

 

Omics Research Symposium

 

This August, we are organizing the third Omics Research Symposium Fall- 2022 bringing together students, researchers, faculty, and industry professionals to discuss recent advances in Omics Data and Computational Biology (Bioinformatics).

 

The online symposium will be held from August 30 - August 31, 2022 and will highlight the challenges, opportunities, and applications of bioinformatics and data science in life sciences education, research, and industry through keynote lectures, panel discussions, and a poster presentation competition. 

 

By joining the symposium, students and researchers will learn about advances in enabling technologies, career opportunities in bioinformatics, project showcase, and poster competition, translational science hackathon: microbiome and health, and getting involved: finding labs, programs, and mentors. 

 

You will also get an opportunity to explore collaborative projects, internships, and careers with an international team of experts and mentors in research domains of academia and industry. You will also learn about the diversity of projects conducted in all life sciences with big data – from nutrition to biotechnology and even forensic science! Importantly, you will also get to know the individuals who lead such projects and hear about their stories.

 

Needless, to say, symposium workshops are also a great time to get hands-on practice in computational biology and data science!  

 

To learn about the symposium schedule and speaker sessions, visit – https://edu.omicslogic.com/omics-research-symposium-august-2022 

 

If you are still wondering why and how can one make the most out of attending a research symposium, check out our other blogs:

 

  1. 7 Reasons Why You Should Attend Omics Research Symposium 2022 – https://edu.omicslogic.com/blog/7-reasons-why-you-should-attend-a-research-symposium 
  2. Omics Research Symposium 2022: What to expect and How to get involved? – https://edu.omicslogic.com/blog/omics-research-symposium-2022 

 

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