Eastern Africa Network for Bioinformatics Training (EANBIT)

Daniel Masiga

International Centre of Insect Physiolog

Kenya

Eastern Africa Network for Bioinformatics Training - (EANBiT) PROGRAM SUMMARY Developing sufficient mass of research leaders requires a large starting pool of high quality trainees at the early stage of the training pipeline and support to enhance their progression up the pipeline. As such Masters training, being the first stage of specialized research training is, strong determinant of the quality of PhD students in the region. Unfortunately, many universities in eastern Africa do not offer bioinformatics training at Master level and those that do often lack sufficient teaching faculty and active research environments where the students can be exposed to high quality data and emerging bioinformatics techniques. Consequently, universities and research centres in the region struggle to recruit good quality bioinformatics research assistants and PhD students. Therefore, while EANBiT’s long-term goal is to develop bioinformatics research leaders, the focus over the period of this grant will be on enhancing bioinformatics training at Masters level in the eastern African region to increase the size and quality of the pool of potential PhD students. OBJECTIVES Our core objective is to measurably strengthen the application of bioinformatics in biomedical research, through individual training, research mentorship and enhancing institutional capacity in East and Central Africa. Specific objectives 1. To develop a collaborative platform for promoting and strengthening bioinformatics training and career development in universities and research institutes in eastern Africa. 2. Develop a harmonized bioinformatics curriculum at Masters level and support its adoption in partner universities. 3. Generate a cohort of highly trained bioinformatics Masters graduates who can lead analysis of data generated by H3Africa and other projects. EXPECTED OUTCOMES AND PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT: We expect to progressively develop highly qualified bioinformaticians with the knowledge and skills to contribute analysis of genomic, genetic and environmental data that are relevant to health in eastern Africa, and to have equitable collaborations with peers in Africa and elsewhere. We plan to train 12 participants each year at the level of Masters. The institutions involved will include International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Pwani University, Makerere University, Uganda Virus Research Institute, KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme and University of Dar es Salaam. Our expectation is that graduates from this program will lead research, and take part in analysis of complex datasets, and train the next generation of bioinformaticians.