Dr. Alan Christoffels Interim Director, South African National Bioinformatics Institute, Director, Medical Research Council Bioinformatics Capacity Development Research Unit

Dr. Christoffels is Interim Director of the South African National Bioinformatics Institute and Director of the Medical Research Council Bioinformatics Capacity Development Research Unit. In 2009 he received the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation Research Chair in Bioinformatics and Health Genomics. Dr. Christoffels' laboratory focuses on communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and sleeping sickness, and methodology to deal with next-generation sequencing data. As of 2009 he had established the Glossina Functional Genomics Network (GFGN) as part of the International Glossina Genome Initiative — an international consortium aimed at sequencing and analyzing the genome of the disease vector for sleeping sickness through funding from the World Health Organization's Tropical Disease Research Program. Through the GFGN, more than 60 students on the African continent have been trained in the use of genomics techniques.

Dr. Christoffels holds a Ph.D. in bioinformatics from the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. He subsequently completed a 3-year postdoctoral study in Singapore in the laboratory of Drs. Sydney Brenner and Byrappa Venkatesh and then established his research lab at Temasek Life Sciences, a research institute in Singapore, for 3 years before returning to South Africa.