Course Overview
The course aims to provide an introduction to the field of bioinformatics, with a focus on important bioinformatics tools, and resources. The course aims to use a combination of theoretical and practical sessions in order for participants to gain practical experience in using various tools and resources.
Intended Audience
The course is aimed at individuals from a molecular biology background who have a basic understanding of biochemistry and/or genetics and would like to become bioinformatics users. For an explanation on who 'bioinformatics users' might be, see Figure 2 in A baseline level of the understanding of the central dogma of biology (DNA -> RNA -> Protein) is a requirement.
Keywords: Genetics, Genomics, Nucleic acids analysis
Skill level of training: Beginner
Language: English
Credential awarded: Letter of completion/attendance
Type of training: Blended/hybrid learning
Venue of the course: Local classrooms ( usually ~50 physical/online sites across Africa). Please be aware that the course is likely to make use of a combination of both physical and online sites depending on ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
Dates for the course: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 CAT to 14:30 CAT
Course organisers: Verena Ras, Shaun Aron, Sumir Panji, Nicola Mulder
Participation: The course is available to any classroom who meets the requirements and to any participant who is able to attend a physical/online classroom, provided they have been selected via the selection process. Should a classroom decide to host a face-to-face classroom, the participant must be able to attend this classroom in person for the duration of the course.
Course Sponsors: H3ABioNet Local Classrooms
Course objectives

After this workshop participants should be able to:

  • Explain the use of bioinformatics
  • Name the key bioinformatics techniques and tools
  • Locate important biological databases and retrieve data
  • Use selected tools effectively to run specific bioinformatics analyses
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of the various techniques

Classroom applications

Registration for classrooms opens: Fri, 25/03/2022
Registration for classrooms closes: Mon, 18/04/2022
Link to classroom application form:
Notification date for successful classrooms: Fri, 06/05/2022
Maximum number of participants that may be accepted per classroom will be capped at 40

Participant applications

Registration for participants opens: Tue, 10/05/2022
Registration for participants closes: Fri, 03/06/2022
Participant registration link:
Syllabus and Tools

The course curriculum will cover the following main themes (subject to slight changes):

  • Bioinformatics resources and databases
    • Introduction to bioinformatics, biological databases and resources (NCBI and EBI), data formats, ontologies
  • Linux
    • Introduction to Linux, general overview of Linux environment, overview of command line interface, navigating Linux directory structure, manipulating files and directories, basic Linux commands
  • Sequence alignment theory and applications
    • Introduction to searching and sequence alignment, BLAST, pairwise sequence alignment
  • Multiple sequence alignment (MSA)
    • MSA theory, generating and interpreting MSAs using various tools, visualising and assessing MSA quality
  • Genomics
    • Overview of sequencing and annotation, Ensembl genome browser, Genetic variation, HapMap, 1000 genomes
  • Molecular evolution and phylogenetics
    • Molecular evolution, phylogenetic approaches and methods (Introduction and overview of methods)

 **All modules make use of predominantly web-based tools such as NCBI, Ensembl, etc.


Course limitations

This workshop will only provide a foundation for continued learning in bioinformatics and will not teach any advanced coding.
For more information, please visit

Training material availability

Training materials for this course are available here: Should you re-use any of these materials, please ensure that both the author/s of the material AND H3ABioNet are clearly credited.

Materials have been made available as a single archive per module containing lecture slides, transcribed videos, practical assignments and any other resources important to complete each module:

Module 1: Databases and Resources

Module 2: Linux

Module 3: Sequence Alignment

Module 4: Multiple Sequence Alignment

Module 5: Genomics

Module 6: Phylogenetics (2018 - 2021)

Module 6: Structural Biology (2016 only)

Introduction Week

Wrap Up week