South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
Building a healthy nation through research and innovation


Bioinformatics Capacity Development Research Unit


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Director: Prof Alan Christoffels

The Bioinformatics Capacity Development Research Unit was established and is located at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) at the University of the Western Cape. It aims to develop and support bioinformatics and genomics in South Africa.

Bioinformatics has recently emerged as a discipline straddling the established fields of biology and computer science. It is integral to modern biological research, and as a specialist pursuit, offers substantial competitive opportunities to smaller and developing countries, without the requirement of prohibitive infrastructural investment.

Bioinformatics worldwide focuses on a number of sites that provide high quality access to data and information. Such sites exist on all continents, with the exception of Africa and Antartica.

The African continent has suffered considerably from the digital divide, and also runs the risk of being left out of the newly coined "bio-divide".

SANBI therefore provides a focus for biological research located in Africa and is interested in making contact with other African partners dedicated to the provision of an excellent bioinformatic resource and focused on Africa and African concerns.

The MRC Unit at SANBI is dedicated to:

  • the development of an online specialised resource for genomics and genome informatics;
  • capacity development in genomics and bioinformatics in South Africa; and
  • the development and implementation of genome annotation methods.

The Unit aims to heighten awareness of bioinformatics in South Africa and to assist the country in making optimal use of this technology.

Services offered

  • Databases - nucleotide, protein, structure (including the human genome sequence and derived data);
  • Software tools for bioinformatics/genomics;
  • Countrywide training in bioinformatics and genomics;
  • Bioinformatics support to South African scientists through telephone and e-mail contact.

View the South African National Bioinformatics Institute's Website

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Last updated:
29 February, 2016
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