Prof Mamadou WELE is the director of the African Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, a sub-regional center attached to the University of Science, Technology and Technology of Bamako (USTTB) and co-financed by the Uni-versity Clinical Research Center (UCRC). From March 11th to 12th, the Center organized its 1st Symposium on “Developing Bioinformatics Expertise for Sustainable Biomedical Research in Africa”. What is this new science in which our country is pioneering in Africa. Interview with Professor Mamadou WELE …
How important can this science be in the development of a country like Mali?
Prof. Mamadou WELE: In a tropical country such as Mali, where endemic diseases such as HIV / AIDS, bilharziasis, for which there are no medicines yet, it is important to use this science to understand the biology of parasites, the development of diseases and to look for drugs to attack these diseases. Computer biological research (bioinformatics) is faster and less expensive and applies to all biological sciences. That is, it serves not only human health, but also, agronomists as part of the genetic improvement of plants.
The African Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics has just organized its first Symposium. What is your assessment of this scientific event?
Prof. Mamadou WELE: The results of the first symposium are satisfactory. For two days, we received participants from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH); from Tulane University of the United States USA; Pasteur Institute of Tunis and France. It was a space for students to present their work. One of the advantages of this symposium, in addition to the workshop that followed, was this mixture of biologists, pharmacists, mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists to try to solve the problems of biology.
Is bioinformatics the future of scientific research in the world?
Prof. Mamadou WELE: About ten years ago, it was thought that the horizon was science such as genomics or proteomics, after we entered other sciences including metabolomics. It’s really a science of the future that opens the horizon to other sciences. If we take the case of medicine today, we see that we are moving from general medicine to specialized medicine. It is a medicine that according to the genes of each patient will know which drug to prescribe. We especially think that bioinformatics can fill the gap in scientific research between the South and the North.
Ibrahima DIA, Communication Officer