A workshop on bioinformatics was held in Addis Abeba in August for researchers from Ethiopia and Djibouti as part of the BIOTECHNET project.
ICGEB Trieste and Cape Town, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETIn), have organised a 2-day workshop live and in streaming in Addis Ababa, on August 25-26, 2022. The event falls within the “BIOTECHNET – Enhancing biotechnology know-how in the Horn of Africa” initiative, supported by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation aimed at enhancing the scientific competences of researchers and research institutions from Ethiopia and Djibouti in the field of Life Sciences.
The course, entitled “Introduction to transcriptomic analysis and functional interpretation” provided hand-on skills and research techniques in bioinformatics. It included 5 modules around several themes: i) a general introduction on data analysis in biology; ii) an introduction to transcriptomics; iii) transcriptomic data generation methods, iv) statistical methods (univariate and multivariate), and v) enrichment analysis. Common tools were also introduced using experimental data generated for research purpose and practical exercises were proposed.
“Informatics has stormed the world and has changed the way we work and live. Bioinformatics and biology-related disciplines have not been left behind in the revolution. Before computational biology emerged, these disciplines faced the problem of extracting valuable insights from large biological datasets. Today, computational biology can help us to learn the characteristics of complex datasets and present them in a manner that is easy to understand”, says Dr. Stefano Cacciatore, ICGEB Group Leader of the Bioinformatics Group in Cape Town and organizer of the workshop.
Participants also had the opportunity to present their research to all members of the conference through oral presentations and a poster session, and to “network with researchers in various national institutions and research colleagues from Djibouti” stated Prof. Kassahun Tesfaye, Director General of BETIn and ICGEB Appointed Governor for Ethiopia.
“The training was an amazing experience both in format (hybrid) and content of transcriptomics analysis. We have had a number of bioinformatics workshops at BETin in the past, however, this was special in that it was completely dedicated to analyzing transcriptomic data with hands-on exercises for the entire two days”, says Tamiru Oljira Raga, workshop co-organizer and director at the Genomics & Bioinformatics Directorate (GBRD) of BETIn. “In my opinion, the workshop was a success because of the collaborative effort by the institutions, the personnel involved and the resources mobilized from both sides. My hope is that the participants will use the skills and knowledge they gained in their own research and data analysis.” He also added that at BETin (through the Genomics and Bioinformatics Directorate), the training will continue and the topics expanded to reach more participants and institutions in Ethiopia, and, if need be, to the Djibouti counterparts as well. Dr. Olijira Raga concluded: “We learned a lot from organizing this training workshop and we would like to express our readiness to collaborate further in relevant research activities and training in the future.”
“It has been a pleasure to interact with young and vibrant researchers from Djibouti and Ethiopia” says Helen Nigussie Aychegrew, Associate Professor of Animal Genetics and Breeding at CNCS, Addis Ababa University, and speaker at the workshop. “The BIOTECHNET workshop is a very good opportunity to empower researchers and network with them for further collaboration and partnership in their future careers.”
More than 130 people registered for the event online and 21 researchers had the opportunity to attend in person.
The BIOTECHNET project is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.