Bioinformatics for Africa
The first conference on bioinformatics and the crucial problem of endemic diseases in Africa took place May 28th to June 2nd, 2007, in Nairobi (Kenya). It brought together 75 scientists, including 50 African researchers from 14 different countries. “The objective is to establish strong ties and collaborations between researchers from both continents,” explains Olivier Gascuel, senior researcher at CNRS and co-organizer of the event.In the past few years, large amounts of data have been produced by genomics and post-genomics programs–especially on pathogens and their vectors (mosquitoes and tsetse flies). This data is now freely available on internet. African researchers, with their good knowledge of African parasites and vectors, are in the best position to define areas of research that should be given top priority. Promising research projects on AIDS and malaria, and training requirements for the African researcher community were defined. In order to satisfy these needs, the coordination of four research and training centers (in Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia, and Nigeria) was proposed, mainly based on the Research and Training in Tropical Disease (tdR), a WHO-sponsored program.