H3ABioNet is a Pan African Bioinformatics Network for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) consortium established to develop bioinformatics capacity in Africa and specifically to enable genomics data analysis by H3Africa researchers across the continent.
H3ABioNet is developing human capacity through training and support for data analysis, and facilitating access to informatics infrastructure by developing or providing access to pipelines and tools for human, microbiome and pathogen genomic data analysis.
- H3ABioNet is a consortium of twenty-seven scientific institutions (“Nodes”) distributed across 17 African countries and one USA based institution. Funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) via the Human Heredity in Africa (H3Africa) Initiative has been awarded to H3ABioNet for a total period of five years, commencing in September 2017 and terminating in June 2022.
The aims of H3ABioNet are:
- To implement a Pan African informatics infrastructure.
- To develop an H3Africa data coordinating center.
III. To provide high quality informatics support to H3Africa.
- To enable and enhance innovative translational research.
- To address outreach, development and sustainability.
H3ABioNet is composed of 28 different Nodes based in 17 countries, 16 in Africa and 1 in the USA. It is led by the Principal Investigator, Prof Nicola Mulder, at the University of Cape Town. Each Node has a Node Principal Investigator (PI) that is part of the General Assembly (GA).
H3ABioNet activities are organized into 8 work packages: Data & Standards, Tool Development, Workflows & Computing, Databases & Resources, Health Informatics, Integration & Interoperability, Training and Outreach & Sustainability
Management and Governance
Each Work package is headed by a Chair and a Co-Chair, which belong to the Management Committee (MC). The MC meets monthly to report on projects within the work packages. The MC sets priorities, monitors deliverables and timelines, allocates resources, and reviews applications for courses or internships. The MC communicates decisions to the GA at quarterly meetings.
The GA is responsible for high-level strategic planning for the network, maximizing the synergies between the project components, reviewing node status and progress and fund-raising. The GA meets quarterly with an annual face-to-face network meeting. Each member of the GA has equal voting rights, with 1 vote per Node.
The GA reports to the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which provides input and advice on overall strategic goals and management. The GA, with input from the SAB, monitors progress of each Node and ensures that each group is carrying its own weight within the network.
H3ABioNet Node Principal Investigators
The H3ABioNet Nodes with the Principal Investigator names are listed below sorted by country. To view the node locations see the Consortium map.
H3ABioNet Consortium Map
General summary of the node's highlights and achievements
- Maintenance of site computation infrastructure and enhanced internet bandwidth Bioinformatics trainings including but not limited to Introduction to Bioinformatics (IBT) 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Bioinformatics in the Tropics (BIT)2014 and 2015
- Networking:- Node contribution to various working groups, and subsequent work packages
- International Conferences – Participation in International bioinformatics conference for increased bioinformatics awareness in the region.
Analysis Infrastructure - UVRI-node’s computational capacity (servers and work stations) was maintained from previous reporting periods. A local instance of Galaxy to support metagenomics analysis is being developed. In addition, we had our Institutional internet bandwidth increased from 12 Mbps to 25 Mbps, getting it much closer to the consortium recommended 30Mbps operational levels.
Training - Node trainings of staff in basic bioinformatics continued. UVRI hosted a classroom for the H3ABioNet introductory bioinformatics course for beginners, the IBT-2016, 2017 and 2018 editions. We had participation at various levels- as trainees, facilitators or teaching assistants (TA’s).
In addition, local staff trained in basic NGS data analysis in metagenomics
Node support for the new Bioinformatics Fogarty training grants (BReCA & EANBiT) got under way starting with Curriculum development
Networking - UVRI node also contributed to various H3ABioNet Working groups- later Work Packages. Our node members are involved in the following work packages:
- Outreach and Sustainability
- Pipelines and Computing
International Conference - We partnered with H3ABioNet, MUII, ISCB and ASBCB to host ISCB Africa ASBCB Conference on Bioinformatics and H3ABioNet SAB and AGM at UVRI from Oct 9th to 13th
Now what’s the Plan?
The year 2017/2018 was to consolidate infrastructure investments for bioinformatics analysis, continued basic trainings and recruitment of new staff with additional bioinformatics specialties. To this end much was realized.
We are participating in 3 H3ABioNet Work packages- thanks to this and are well on track to finally try out for a node accreditation exercise.