Jane Njeri- Pwani University

As a novice in the field, have I enjoyed using my skills to contribute to the exciting technological advances that happen on a daily basis. In addition, great mentorship and support, either financially, mentally or socially, has a massive impact in developing potential individuals who will help in solving biological problems globally. Through the EANBiT program, I am in a position to learn and employ bioinformatics methodology to my studies.

Supervisors: James Tuju

Host Institution: KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme

I was introduced to bioinformatics through a training on Introduction to Bioinformatics offered by H3Abionet in 2017. This opportunity allowed me to apply my experience in a HIV drug resistance work program I was involved in at the time. The Bioinformatics field is so diverse and gives one an appreciation of tools in place to manage data and gain a lot of information from it. The practical experiences in class has been thorough, working on mini projects both personal and in groups in form of assignments has helped me familiarise myself in using various analysis tools and troubleshooting errors.

Supervisors: Prof. Santie de Villiers and Prof. Katrien Devos

Host Institution: Pwani University and University of Georgia (USA)

My Bioinformatics experience has been great so far, I have got more knowledge on what this field is about. Additionally. I have a working understanding on the different computer programs and software systems which are important when it comes to the analysis part of biological data. My time at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) gave me a picture on how Bioinformatics is used in the research field this also cemented my ambitions for the field.

Supervisor: Dr. Jean-Baka Domelevo Entfellner

Host Institution: BecA-ILRI Hub

I joined ICIPE as an intern in a different field under the plant health theme. During my work experience, I got to interact with the bioinformatics department, with my little background in bioinformatics I was interested and decided to take this interest to the next level. I started interacting with members of the field and then the EANBiT opportunity came. I have not looked back since. So far, programming has been great, I have incorporated it in my personal learning and personal projects and together with biology I believe a lot will be achieved.

Supervisor: Dr. Jandouwe Villinger, Dr. David Mburu

Host Institution: KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme

During my Bachelors studies my mentor used to talk to me about Bioinformatics and its potential in biomedical research. However, it was until I joined KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi for my Post Graduate Diploma in health research methods that I realised I needed to immerse myself in the field. My PGD research project involved genome sequencing and sequence analysis. At this point I had to learn key skills on the move so that I would be able to analyse my sequence data efficiently. This field is dynamic, so every day I am learning something new. Besides, I like the fact that I am able to use the skills I have gained over time to mine large datasets and collaborate with other researchers from other parts of the world remotely with the overall goal of improving people’s health. Bioinformatics is beyond being a researcher’s tool and therefore it will be instrumental in drawing insights from already available and new data in public databases to our advantage in industry and also areas like drug discovery, agriculture, personalized medicine and above all draw the developing countries closer to developed countries due to the flexibility nature of this field that it can be spread easily via internet. The power of bioinformatics in harnessing molecular and highly complex datasets and its ability to mine from the large datasets that are generated daily to ensure that we address every aspect of life including medicine, agriculture, pharmaceutical.
Determination of recombination hotspots and signatures of genetic exchange in vertebrate and insect mitochondrial genomes

Supervisors: Rispah Torrorey and Dr. Caleb Kibet

Host Institution: Department of Immunology, School of Medicine College of Health Sciences, Moi University 

I was pretty fascinated by the possibilities of Bioinformatics and how I could do almost all the genomics analysis done in the lab and more on my Laptop at any time and from anywhere. Additionally, I am very confident that I have not covered a quarter of the content in bioinformatics, however knowing that I can still do a lot and contribute to science with the little knowledge I have so far acquired gives me hope and courage to go on and explore the field more. I believe in coming years Bioinformatics will revolutionize the way Molecular Biology research is done, where people will no longer have to always go to the lab to perform a genomics analysis but rather do it all on computational framework.

Eric Gathirwa – Makerere University

I was introduced to Bioinformatics in my final year as an undergraduate. It was not something I thought I would take on as a career then, till I undertook an internship at the Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Unit of ICIPE. This reshaped my ideals of bioinformatics and I took more interest in the field. There is going to be a big dynamic shift in health sciences towards employing Bioinformatics in problem-solving, this will go a long way towards understanding disease dynamics, testing the response of novel and existing drug compounds, and analyzing genetic and phylogenetic data among other needs.

Supervisors: Dr. Lillian Musila and Dr. Caleb Kibet

Host Institution: KEMRI/USAMRD-A

After graduating from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and mathematics, I joined the pharmaceutical industry as a marketer. I later got the desire to join research and development of medicines so with my background, I was advised to join a career in bioinformatics. This program has introduced me to data analysis, vast programming languages and an understanding on how Bioinformatics is enabling life sciences to invent novel drug discovery as well as drug delivery systems for greater progress in the field of biotechnology.

Supervisor: Prof. Nicola Mulder, Mamana Mbiyavanga, Prof. Santie De Villiers, Prof. Suhaila Hashim

Host Institution: University of Cape Town

My internship at the Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics laboratory at ICIPE, grounded my interests in Bioinformatics. My understanding so far has been amazing, with a few challenges here and there. However, self-learning and practice is pushing me forward to greater opportunities. With EANBiT’s support I am able to gain access to vast number of resources and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Supervisor: Dr. Charles Agotu, Dr. Amana Juma, Dr. Samuel Odiwour

Host Institution: KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme

I got introduced to Bioinformatics at my undergraduate level. I developed interests and skills through personal training and attending workshops. The Learning curve has been rough, the Bioinformatics field is quite enormous, and trying to find what is suitable for me was a challenge. However, Juggling complex data and drawing meaningful conclusions that will be informative in a decision-making process is always fulfilling. Thanks to support and guidance from my peers I managed.

Supervisor: Dr. Charles Nyaigoti, Dr. Amana Juma, and Dr. Samuel Odiwour

Host Institution: KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme

As a post-graduate diploma (PGD) fellow, I did a bioinformatics project that investigated the sources and genetic relatedness of rotavirus A strains in post-vaccine era in Africa. Once I got into the field it was definitely fascinating answering many biological questions. As a PGD fellow I was in a research group that made use of bioinformatics and computational biology to answer the questions behind the virus epidemiology and control. Having developed my own master’s project from the proposal level, I am able to tackle different programming languages to solve a problem I have at hand. I enjoy the interdisciplinary field of biology and informatics, how to make sense out of the next-generation sequence data. To conclude, Computing and Bioinformatics is all about motivation and dedication taking the initiative and going the extra mile are key when it comes to get hands on experience and get acquainted with key skills in bioinformatics. I do a lot of personal learning and at times I consult my peers and my supervisors.