ASBCB is African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. We are a non-profit professional association dedicated to the advancement of bioinformatics and computational biology in Africa, and with a mission to develop the application of bioinformatics in Africa. The importance of international collaboration is emphasised by ASBCB because pan-African networks and projects are boosting bioinformatics research and infrastructure on the continent of Africa. ASBCB is growing into a large network of international collaborators, researchers and contacts. This enables African Bioinformatics researchers access to exciting new opportunities that are opening up in the field of bioinformatics in Africa. ASBCB therefore provides an international forum and resource for developing competence and expertise in these areas.
Our website has information on the Society and promotes bioinformatics courses and events. This includes a page where members can identify others in the Society with whom they wish to work. We also have a newsletter that is widely distributed and a mailing list for members to communicate with us and with each other. The main international connection is through our association with the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). Our students receive reciprocal membership of ISCB and are actively involved in their student council and regional student groups (RSGs). There was originally one RSG for Africa, but due to its popularity this has now been split into the five regions (north, east, south, west and central Africa). ISCB and ASBCB team up every two years to run an ISCB Africa ASBC Conference on Bioinformatics, which rotates between the different African regions. These are accompanied by workshops, which train our local students and researchers. The conferences provide an international forum for African scientists to present their work and gain exposure to high quality international keynote speakers. The workshops provide a forum for learning and exposure to international trainers.
Students have roles within ASBCB and benefits for the joint membership with ISCB. Our students are very active and enthusiastic. Through the RSGs of the ISCB student council they work together on interesting projects. The students have taken the initiative and organised virtual conferences and published their own papers on the subject. At the conferences, students provide excellent ideas for the Society and help us with our activities. They benefit enormously from joint membership with ISCB, which brings with it access to the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference (discounted registration), opportunities for applying for travel funds and internships, discounted journal subscription, and exposure to other student groups worldwide. ASBCB is a smaller organisation with very limited funds, so we cannot provide as many opportunities as ISCB can to our students.
The organisation of conferences is important to the work of ASBCB, as we run conferences every two years which have always been accompanied by workshops. In 2007, ASBCB organised the first conference on Bioinformatics of African Pathogens, Hosts and Vectors in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2009, ASBCB teamed up for the first time with ISCB to organise a meeting in Mali, which was followed in 2011 by a second in Cape Town, South Africa, and third in Casablanca, Morocco, in 2013. The student groups have also organised virtual conferences and courses. We organised a past ISCB Africa ASBCB conference, in March 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
ASBCB as a society also collaborates with individuals, groups or organisations in its mission to develop the application of bioinformatics in Africa. We have a natural link with H3ABioNet, as all ASBCB governing council members are part of the H3ABioNet network. In fact, everything H3ABioNet seeks to achieve is what ASBCB hoped to achieve. Therefore the activities of the two are very closely aligned. ASBCB is also now a member of the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning Education and Training (GOBLET), and bioinformatics training is high on our agenda. GOBLET members include many international societies or institutions with extensive experience in bioinformatics education, so we can learn from them in developing bioinformatics on the African continent.
More About ASBCB:
ASBCB is a non-profit professional association dedicated to the advancement of bioinformatics and computational biology in Africa. Transforming from the African Bioinformatics Network (ABioNET), as a result of a World health Organisation sponsored meeting at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute in Cape Town, South Africa on the 13th February 2004.
ASBCB is serving as an international forum and resource devoted to developing competence and expertise in bioinformatics and computational biology in Africa. It complements its activities with those of other international and national societies, associations and institutions, public and private, that have similar aims. It also promotes the standing of African bioinformatics and computational biology in the global arena through liaison and cooperation with other international bodies.
Promote the exchange of ideas, infrastructure and resources in the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology and facilitate the interaction and collaboration among scientists and educators around the world.
Measurably advance the awareness and understanding of the science of bioinformatics and computational biology. The society represents the bioinformatics and computational biology community in Africa and will be the most respected and reliable international non-profit organization representing this community.
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