About the Bix CoP

Ultimately, our goal is to build an active and self-sustaining community of African bioinformatics practitioners that contribute to food security in the continent by providing a support network to accelerate agricultural research in Africa.

The programme is being implemented in the three phases: Build, Empower and Amplify. 

Build

The build phase entails a 26-week residential training programme in which we build skills in various aspect of data science and bioinformatics in a cohort of 14 carefully-selected young African fellows from 8 African countries. This extensive training programme is a departure from short-phased bioinformatics training model and will provide expert-level skill and knowledge for the fellows to take leadership in the use of bioinformatics in agricultural research in African.

Training Modules in the Build Phase 

The Build phase of the Bioinformatics Community of Practise (BixCoP) consists of seven formal training modules in various areas of bioinformatics listed below. The training resources (presentations, exercises and online learning materials) developed for each module are deposited on dedicated GitHub repositories. 

  1.  Data and Software Carpentries (Data organization, linux, GitHub, Python, Slack, SQL etc). 
  2. R programming, Biostatistics and simple visualisation in R 
  3. Intro to NGS, mapping algorithms, simple alignments, sequence databases, access public 
  4. Strategies for RNA-Seq, transcriptome reference, and variant calling (VCF) 
  5. GBS, GWAS analysis, QTL, GS, DArT-Seq 
  6. 16S, viral, and DNA metagenomics, diversity/phylogenetics, Whole genome assembly (small genomes)
  7.  Implementing pipelines under local conditions (Docker, Galaxy, cloud, CyVerse) 
    • GitHub page currently in development 

Empower

To enable the fellows have a transformative impact in Africa agricultural research, we will train the fellows to develop leadership, soft and pedagogical skills necessary to transfer the knowledge and skills they will acquire to other African scientists. The fellows will also apply their new skills through analysing real-world experimental data relevant to African agriculture. 

Amplify

To achieve the step change we desire, we hope to amplify the impact of this training across Africa. In this phase, the trainee fellows will become trainers and lead regional bioinformatics training workshops. We will also develop online, open-access (GitHub) training modules for future reference and to support continued bioinformatics training at their local institutions