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iHub By Jessica Colaço / June 13, 2011

Talk on Advancing Bio-Informatics and Genomics

1 Comment

Modern biology is now largely focused on the analysis of whole genome data; producing, curating, and making this data accessible for research is a major initiative all over the world.

The goal of this talk is to acquaint folks with the basics of modern biology (what is a genome? why should you care? what are they used for?) and then to pitch the idea that whole genome sequencing and annotation projects, most of which are currently based in a few centers in Europe, Asia, and North America, could be organized here in East Africa to unite biologists, computer scientists and technology experts in this now widespread endeavor.  Sequencing whole genomes (getting the data) gets cheaper every day, but annotating and using genome data requires a lot of time and hard work by large consortia of people.

Join Sarah Schaak this Saturday the 18th at 3pm as she spearheads an effort to provide the training to get a working group together here for what is typically called a “jamboree” to annotate the genomes of species of biological significance to the region.

Click here to Sign up for the Talk

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at:

1 comment
  • Susan MacMillan at 14:37:42PM Monday, June 13, 2011

    Those interested in a talk on Advancing Bio-Informatics and Genomics and forming a working group on the same topic may be interested in a launch on 23 June 2011 at the Biosciences eastern and Central Africa (BecA) Hub, hosted and managed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), at Kabete.

    Appolinaire Djikeng, Technology Manager of the BecA Hub @ ILRI, writes that this 23 June event will launch the BecA Hub @ ILRI – Roche 454 GS FLX Pyrosequencing Platform.

    The Genomics Platform of the BecA Hub recently increased its capacity through the acquisition of the Roche 454 GS FLX pyrosequencer. The machine was donated by Roche as part of an Arbovirus Incidence and Diversity (AVID) Project funded by the Google Foundation and led by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in collaboration with ILRI, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Master of Public Health Program (MPH), and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), but its use has extended far beyond that study. For the last several months this new sequencing platform has been used to significantly support essential genomics and metagenomics projects largely focusing on animal health, microbial and crop improvement research. In addition, the new platform also brought in various opportunities for new research and development collaborative projects and research related services.

    The BecA Hub genomics platform is currently a key player in genomics and metagenomics science in sub Saharan Africa with increasing research opportunities in a wide range of topics related to human health and agricultural research. To further increase regional opportunities of integration of genomics and metagenomics to ongoing and planned research programs and to facilitate collaboration between various scientists, we have scheduled a Roche-sponsored event to officially launch the new 454 GS FLX pyrosequencing platform. The event will be held at the BecA Hub at ILRI Nairobi (Kenya) campus on 23 June 2011. We expect the participation of scientists from universities, research institutions in Kenya and beyond.

    There will be a competition to win a free 454 run targeting young investigators based in sub-Saharan Africa in any of the 17 BecA countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda).

    Keynote speakers will include Karen Nelson, director of the J Craig Venter Institute (USA) who will speak on: ‘Contribution of next generation sequencing technologies to accelerating genomics and metagenomics research’, and Visva Pillay, senior GS applications specialist at Roche (South Africa), who will speak on ‘Roche’s next generation sequencing platforms and opportunities to accelerate various biosciences research areas’.

    If you are interested to join ILRI/BecA Hub for the launch of our Roche 454 GS FLX pyrosequencing Platform, please request an invitation and program from Rachel Njunge at: r.njunge [at]

    Note that we are also holding a competition, with the winner getting a project on the BecA Hub/ILRI 454 GS Sequencer. Just submit a one-page summary of your sequencing project proposal to enter. The most innovative project that will contribute to inspiring discovery in biosciences in Africa will win.

    Submissions should be e-mailed to
    Closing date for submissions: 29 July 2011
    Announcement of the winner: 1 September 2011


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