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GFGN

Over the past four years the IGGI consortium through the South African National Bioinformatics Institute has provided bioinformatics training to African students with the aim of building capacity to analyse genomic data. In 2009, we sought to establish a Glossina Functional Genomics Network as a follow-on from our classroom training to coincide with the pending sequence and assembly of the Glossina morsitans genome. The functional genomics network would provide a framework to further expand the Glossina research community and provide a coordinated research network to exploit the Glossina genomics resources. Underpinning these activities would be the mentoring of research fellows through short-term research visits in laboratories of IGGI member.

The objectives of the functional genomics network are:

  • To train researchers in functional genomics applied to Glossina through short-term attachments to research laboratories of IGGI members.
  • To organise the research fellows in a network in which they would contribute collectively and interactively to the generation and exploitation of Glossina genome sequence data for the development of innovative vector-control tools and methods.

As a consequence of decisions taken at an annual IGGI consortium executive meeting in November 2009, the consortium participating laboratories organised itself as the remote mentoring sites for the Glossina Functional Genomics Network. Three research fellows were identified for the funding cycle under review based on their involvement in Trypanosomiasis research and institutional commitment to support them after their 2-month fellowship programme, namely Oliver Manangwa (Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research Institute, Tanzania), Paul Mireji (Egerton University, Kenya) and Sarah Mwangi (Kenyan studying at SANBI). Since the August 2010 reporting, all research fellows have completed their research visits. The research fellows were funded to attend the African Society of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology meeting in Cape Town during March 2011. During the past six months, the SANBI coordinator has visited three sites in Malawi, Zambia and Sudan as part of an effort to identify new candidates for the functional genomics network. Based on the proposed plan for 2011, dates have been scheduled to place an EBIOKIT and provide training in the laboratories of two research fellows in Tanzania and Kenya.

Outputs/Highlights: The three research fellows presented their work at the African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology conference held in Cape Town during March 2011. The research fellows had face-to-face meetings in Cape Town with the SANBI-coordinator and one of the participating laboratories headed by Dr Masiga. A training visit was planned for May 2011 in order to equip the research fellows with the EBIOKIT resource in collaboration with Uppsala University. Three centers in Malawi, Zambia and Sudan received site visits to establish potential synergies between the centers and the IGGI consortium’s Glossina Functional Genomics Network.

As a follow-up to the establishment of the H3Africa Project, the SANBI coordinator presented the African bioinformatics networks to the H3Africa open meeting held in Cape Town during March 2011.

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