A virtual Advanced Bioinformatics and R training series was recently organized for faculty members of the Institute of Biotechnology (IoB), Addis Ababa University (AAU). The training was jointly organized by AAU and the Biosciences eastern and central Africa - International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub and consisted of 28 sessions from 27 July 2021 to 11 November 2021.
The training, which included both theory and hands-on bioinformatics sessions, was attended by 14 faculty members, including Professor Tesfaye Sisay Tessema, Director of IoB. Three postgraduate fellows from ILRI also participated in the training. Each session was two hours long and two sessions were held in a week.
Some of the training areas covered were the analysis of sequence data generated from the first generation (Sanger sequencing) and next generation (Illumina) sequencing. Participants were equipped with programming skills required for bioinformatics, including Unix and R. The participants were also familiarized with quality check and filtering sequence data, followed by the use of various open-source license free bioinformatics software and programming tools to analyze, visualize and interpret data.
Additionally, trainees were acquainted with skills in sequencing, genome analysis and identification of traits of interest from sequence data. The sequencing techniques to study microbial communities in different environments were also demonstrated. The resource persons for the training were from BecA - ILRI Hub, Ohio State University and New York University.
Overall, this training was a great success as all participants gained knowledge and skills to successfully analyze and make insightful inferences from the sequence data. Professor Addis Simachew, one of the training participants states:
'It was relevant and interesting. It opens our eyes and the experiences of all the trainers were impressive. It was also participatory with free discussions among the participants that help share experiences. The delivery system was also effective despite frequent internet interruptions.'
This training was organized to strengthen the bioinformatics capacity of AAU’s faculty members as BecA-ILRI Hub’s mission is to mobilize modern biosciences for agricultural development in eastern and central Africa.