Bioinformatics Workshop is Preparing us for the coming Medical Revolution … Professor Adebiyi
The just concluded Bioinformatics International Workshop that gathered scholars within and outside of the African continent to train, with the aim of solving African problems as it pertains to human health and hereditary challenges, has been hailed as a huge success.
Professor Ezekiel Adebiyi of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences stated this during his evaluation of the five-week workshop. According to him, the H3ABioNet Consortium is a pan African bioinformatics network, working towards turning symptom-based diagnosis to personal medicine or what may be called a “genome base solution” to health care delivery. That is, using both genes and non-coding sequences of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) of individuals to appropriately determine what is wrong at any point in time.
The workshop, he said, would help participants develop capacities in the relevant areas of human health and hereditary projects, with the peculiarities of being Africans brought to bear on ways H3 challenges are addressed. In addition, he said the workshop would among other things develop the bioinformatics capacity of people in Africa, empowering them to perform cutting-edge research, and ensure retention of bioinformatics skills on the continent.
Professor Adebiyi, who also heads Covenant University Bioinformatics Research cluster, said Covenant University is the only Nigerian university in the consortium and successfully hosting the first H3ABioNet Bioinformatics Postgraduate Workshop is a thing of pride, because the funding agencies, National Institute of Health, United States of America, and Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom would have seen the University’s capacity to engage effectively in long term projects and as such would be ready, subsequently, to sponsor research works and collaborations that might last as long as 6 months to 1 year.
According to him, “The success of this workshop will attract people to our campus for research based projects, because of the accomplishment of the last 5 weeks. We are currently building structures to make that happen and with the kind of support we are enjoying, within the next 5 to 7 years, we should be drawing huge benefits from this technological revolution that will soon turn medicine around.”
Professor Adebiyi appreciated the Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo, who through the David Oyedepo Foundation (DOF) became a big plus to the success of the workshop. He added that DOF was able to make funds available to accommodate participants in a conducive environment, which was far better than what they had in mind initially, and this he said is what international agencies have been looking forward to, that Africa based funding bodies should be involved in this kind of projects.
In addition, Professor Adebiyi stated that the H3 Africa consortium is made up of 26 institutions in Africa and some others in the United States and United Kingdom, and from the advertising phase of the workshop till now, the popularity of Covenant University has moved from the realm of being known with the consortium, to that of a capable host of the consortium, thus attracting a huge web presence and attention.
Furthermore, NIH and Wellcome Trust having signed up on the workshop with Covenant University and appraised our capacity to deliver, would easily recommend applications for grants for research clusters from Covenant University to other funding agencies, thus putting a seal of credibility and acceptance on activities of researchers in the University.
Also, the workshop has availed faculty, experts and participants from different institutions to see possible areas of collaboration for further advancement of research activities. No doubt, ripple effects would open Covenant University up for greater things.
H3ABioNet is a pan African Bioinformatics network comprising 32 bioinformatics groups distributed amongst 15 African countries and 2 partner institutions based in the United States of America.
The five-week workshop attracted participants and facilitators from South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Morocco, Ghana, Canada, Nigeria and 2 from Covenant University.