Bioinformatics, Genomics Medicine in Africa/Training the next generation of scientists in Africa: Challenges and opportunities

Ibrahima DIA

During the seventh session of the 12th conference of the African Society of Human Genetics and the 1st Congress of the Malian Society of Human Genetics, Professor Seydou Doumbia had the honor to present to a hundred participants. His presentation was on the topic: “Bioinformatics, Genomics Medicine in Africa: Challenges and opportunities“.

Backgrounds and objectives: Bioinformatics and genomics research have great potentials for understanding the extensive genetic and microbiota diversity in African populations. The Mali African Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics (Mali-ACE-B) was created in 2015 with support from NIH to build a sustainable bioinformatics research training program. Methods: We set-up an e-learning facilities at University of Bamako-USTTB, enhances local faculty and researchers in Bioinformatics (ToT), develop a curriculum for Master degree and short term training in bioinformatics. Initial courses were provided through distance learning and face to face by local and international faculty involving H3Abionet and other collaborators networks (contributing in also in mentorship).

 Results: A cohort of 20 Master students with wide background in biomedical field and more than hundred of junior scientists and faculties have been trained in Bioinformatics/genomics. The students research involved genomics and bioinformatics covering a wide range of diseases including malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV (epigenetics, Genomics of drug and vector resistances), Cancer, Diabetis and Autism. Key findings of the Students’ thesis research will be presented. The program was awarded with research-training grants (Fogarty International H3Africa training in Bioinformatics programs and others) Providing opportunity for doctoral and post-doctoral training.

Discussion:  Challenges of reliance on high-speed bandwidth availability, career development, employability, remote mentoring and publication will be discussed.

Conclusion: our multi-tiered enhancement approach provides a platform for generating and data science technicians, teachers, researchers, and program managers in underserved countries. Such capacity is needed to ensure genomic translation into health system to address global health issues.

Conflict of interest disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest, in terms of Scientific, financial and personal.

S. Doumbia, M. Wele, H. Darrell, J. Li, M. Diakite, C. Whalen, A. Ezekiel and JG. Shaffer

° Faculty of Medicine and Odontostomatology, University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako;

° African Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako;

° Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch (BCBB), OCICB/NIAID/NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA: ‘Department of Global Biostatistics and Data Science, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropic Medicine, New Orleans, LA, United States;

° Department of Computer and Information Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.

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