The BCB Impi is led by MUII fellows and alumni Jonathan Kayondo, Deo Ssemwanga and John Kitayimbwa (among others!). MUII offers travel grants to Centre members, and bioinformatics was first supported by travel grants for international training. The core objective is to foster development of bioinformatics and computational biology expertise within MUII-plus and affiliates through training courses and research collaborations. Common and specialized software has been set up to run various next generation sequencing (NGS) applications including Illumina sequence data QA/QC, alignment, assembly, and mapping; variant calling (SNPs and HIVDR mutations); and phylogenetic analysis. The BCB Impi actively supports regional bioinformatics collaborations through meetings, training courses and joint grant proposals, and is training and mentoring an expanding group of interns and fellows. Highlights of 2017 included the award of two training grants for bioinformatics – one led by MUII members at Makerere, the other by colleagues at Kenya’s icipe – and the renewal of funding for key collaborating network H3A Bionet.
Following an MRC award of £2.8m, the Uganda Medical Informatics Centre (UMIC) was installed in the basement of the MUII-MRC-funded training resource building and will offer both improved computing infrastructure and senior staff with bioinformatic skills. The facility, launched during 2016, is intended to be a regional resource. MUII offers grants to support project work using the UMIC.