West African Center of Excellence for Global Health Bioinformatics Research Training

Seydou Doumbia

Jian Li

Jeffrey Shaffer

Univ of Sciences, Tech and Tech of Bamako

Mali

The completion of the Human Genome Project and the advances in Bioinformatics technology provide great opportunity for better understanding the extensive genetic and microbiota diversity in African populations and a deeper understanding of susceptibility and resistance to infections and metabolic diseases. In the past decade, University of Bamako-USTTB has been involved in bioinformatics/genomics capacity building in Africa with support from World Health Organization, H3Africa, and the National Institutes of Infectious Diseases and Allergy (NIAID). NIAID's commitment was recently expended with the creation of the first NIAID-USTTB' African Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics (ACEB) and a Regional Clinical Research Center (UCRC) at University of Bamako-USTTB. The proposed program will support those efforts with overall goal to build a sustainable bioinformatics research training program that will foster genomics approaches to address global health issues in Africa. The proposed program will achieve the following this goal through the following aims: 1] Strengthen local leadership in bioinformatics training and research to address the need for advanced bioinformatics and data sciences research expertise in Africa. 2] Enhance existing graduate bioinformatics training at University of Bamako-USTTB including a doctoral program and advances courses in Bioinformatics and genomics; 3] Produce and enhance the careers of trainees and provide support to clinical and laboratory researchers for use of bioinformatics and genomics approaches to address global health issues. Activities of this training grant will include faculty and mentorship development in various fields (bioinformatics, biostatistics, computational biology, genomics, and proteomics) for teaching faculty, clinical and laboratory researchers of USTTB. Participating faculties will also work with collaborators of Tulane University to improve their bioinformatics curricula and course contents. This proposed program will support for 3 new MSc students in Bioinformatics annually (Malian and other African countries), allowing 15 African students to complete a Master degree over the 5-year grant period. The grant will also support 5 PhD students enrolled at USTTB for a three- four year doctorate program in Bioinformatics. The training program involving established collaborators of University of Bamako-USTTB, Tulane University, University of Strasbourg and NIH will address the need for bioinformatics research expertise in the H3Africa Consortium and result in sustainable center of bioinformatics research training relevant to global health research for the African continent.