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
Type of training: Blended/hybrid learning
Venue of workshop: 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 workshop: 18 April - 1 August 2023 every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 CAT to 14:30 CAT
Workshop organisers: Sindiswa Lukhele, Verena Ras, Tshinakaho Malesa, Shaun Aron, Sumir Panji and 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.
Workshop Sponsors: H3ABioNet, Local Classrooms

Classroom applications

Registration for classrooms opens: Fri, 17/02/2023
Registration for classrooms closes: Sun, 12/03/2023
Notification date for successful classrooms: Fri, 17/03/2023
Maximum number of participants that may be accepted per classroom will be capped at 40

Participant applications

Registration for participants opens: Tue, 21/03/2023
Registration for participants closes: Thu, 06/04/2023
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.

Prerequisites: A basic background/understanding of biochemistry and/or genetics.


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


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