Bridging the gap between well established bioinformaticians and aspiring ones through peer training and mentorship so as to enhance collaborations to foster quality scientific research and innovations and promote the sharing of data, skills and codes.
David Kiragu Mwaura is a Master’s Student in Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology from JKUAT, Kenya.His research interest is using bioinformatics and genomics in zoonotic studies and wildlife conservation.
Jean-Baka Domelevo Entfellner is a scientist–bioinformatics at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Before joining the BecA-ILRI Hub, Jean-Baka was a senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town, South Africa), and a postdoctoral fellow with the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI). As a postdoctoral fellow, Jean-Baka worked for the NIH-funded H3ABioNet project, part of the broader Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative.
With a formal education in computer science, mathematics and signal processing, Jean-Baka took a one-year sabbatical in 2006-2007 to lecture in Niamey (Niger) and Yaoundé (Cameroon), in the framework of a project aimed at developing higher education and research capacity in mathematics and computer science in Africa. Back in France, he conducted his PhD studies in Montpellier under the supervision of Prof. Olivier Gascuel, on a topic combining phylogenetics and statistical modelling of protein families.
Jean-Baka’s responsibilities at the BecA-ILRI Hub include leading the bioinformatics platform, providing support to the BecA-ILRI Hub users in the computational analysis of their “omics” data (phenotypic or genomic in the broad sense), as well as designing and implementing capacity building activities in bioinformatics. Jean-Baka is also the bioinformatician for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency/Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (DTRA/CBEP) project on the whole-genome sequencing of African Swine Fever Virus.
Originally from Paris, France, Jean-Baka is an alumnus of the prestigious École Normale Supérieure (ENS Cachan, France). Prior to his Ph.D. (University of Montpellier, France), he obtained a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Rennes (France), but also a BA in English studies from the University of Rennes (France), and an MA in English studies from the University of Montpellier (France).
Verena Ras is a training and outreach coordinator at H3ABioNet – Pan African Bioinformatics Network for the Human Hereditary and Health in Africa Consortium. She focuses on helping to advance bioinformatics capacity in Africa through training, using a variety of online and face to face modalities. Verena also has other passions. Outside of her work at H3ABioNet she is also a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa where she is focusing on exploring the taxonomy, population biology and species connectivity of jellyfish in African waters.
Peter Van Heusden
I am a research software engineer and bioinformatician at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute. My background is in Computer Science and computer systems administration, but I have spent the past decade growing a team working on bioinformatics for analysis of pathogens in public health, with a focus on M. tuberculosis and scientific workflows. I’m a long time contributor to the Galaxy project and have provided advice to a number of African public health labs on analysing SARS-CoV-2 genomes and growing bioinformatics capacity more broadly.