Bifx Africa Virtual Conference 2009

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(Formerly Afbix09)


Online at Bioinformatics.Org
February 19-20, 2009

Enter the conference website.


Important dates


The Bifx Africa Virtual Conference 2009, which is the first of its kind in Africa, is supported by the Bioinformatics Organization, Regional Student Group Africa (RSG Africa), Regional Student Group Morocco (RSG Morocco), International Society for Computational Biology Student Council ISCBSC and African Society of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ASBCB). The proposed dates for the conference are 19th to 20th February 2009, which fall on a Thursday and Friday, respectively.


Over the last few years, Research in the fields of Bioinformatics and Computational biology has gained momentum within the African continent to study interactions of pathogen, hosts and vectors in relevant diseases. The concept of a 'virtual conference' is the first of its kind in Africa and this is an initiative of Bioinformatics Organization as well as students affiliated either to RSG Africa or RSG Morocco. The virtual conference organizers hope this opportunity will foster virtual interactions and collaborations among students as well as researchers and place Africa 'at par' with the rest of the world in terms of Bioinformatics and computational biology research.

Bioinformatics Organization (Bioinformatics.Org) has over 25,000 members and currently hosts over 100 projects that are related to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. The Organization also offers online interactive tutorials on several relevant topics. The tradition of virtual conferences at Bioinformatics.Org dates back from with the start series of Bioinformatics to Systems Biology 2007 (BSB07).

The most recent BSB08 conference Bioinformatics to Systems Biology 2008 ignited a spark in the audience across the world through four keynote talks, other virtual presentations and posters. The conference brought together over 140 attendees both directly and indirectly from across the globe.

RSG Africa was founded in May 2007 and currently has over 500 members in Africa. Members are drawn from North, South East, West and South Africa. The group in collaboration with senior faculty has organized workshops which include training in Bioruby/ Bioperl, R and Bioconductor as well as a Basic course in Molecular Phylogeny. RSG Africa with Bioinformatics.Org have organized virtual meetings which include a virtual lecture titled "Bioinformatics meets new challenges: system Biology" delivered on 4th of July 2008. Bioinformactics.Org provided scholarships to selected RSG Africa members and with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) as a virtual hub; members took part in BSB08 virtual conference.

RSG Morocco was founded on 21 March 2008 and currently has over 40 members from Morocco and also from others countries. The main goal of RSG Morocco is to strengthen the relationship and scientific exchange between students. RSG Morocco is participating in the organisation of this virtual meeting and will be the way that allow RSG Morocco members to take part in this virtual conference.


Please click here to find the program brochure (you might need Moodle privileges to access this).

(All times Greenwich Meridian time GMT; please check the World Clock)

February 19

Morning session

Sub-theme 1: Structural Biology Applied to Infectious Diseases

Afternoon session

Sub-Theme 2: Applied Genomics to Infectious Diseases

February 20

Morning session

Sub-Theme 3: Career Development in Bioinformatics and Opportunities for Researchers in Africa

Afternoon session

Sub-Theme 4: Proteomic applications to Tropical Diseases


Individual fee:


HUB fee:

Registration deadline: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Please direct payment questions to

In the ILRI HUB courtesy of BECA, 30 fellowships are available, kindly send an application to with subject "Bifx09 application". In the application include the following details:

Deadline for applications is 30th January 2009 and selected candidates will be notified in the first week of February 2009.

Virtual hubs

The conference will be held virtually with Bioinformatics Organization as the host. RSG Africa and RSG Morocco have identified several hubs within the continent that will avail the conference to participants. The major requirement for a hub is uninterrupted internet, conferencing facilities and a room to host several conference participants. The following HUBs will participate in the virtual conference;

All members of the East Africa region, should send their applications to the group e-mail address: Non Kenyan members who can cater for their travel and accomodation are highly encouraged to apply and we promise to give all the support documents to facilitate smooth travel into the country. In case you have any queries please send them to the mentioned e-mail address and we will provide a prompt feedback. Thank you all and we look forward to a fruitful virtual conference.

Interested persons are asked to liaise with the above HUBs for future communication about payment of the conference fees.

If anyone is interested in creating a new HUB in a different region kindly contact the organizers.


The virtual conference will consist of a single track with oral and poster presentations. This is a first call for submission of abstracts; authors will indicate whether they are aspiring to have an oral presentation or a poster. The best abstracts from the oral presentation track will be invited for oral presentation, unsuccessful oral presentation abstracts will be invited for poster presentation. We strongly encourage members of RSG Africa, RSG Morocco, young investigators as well as research faculties to submit an abstract on their current work. The Program Committee will choose selected abstracts for oral as well as presentations.


One of the objectives of Bifx09 is to provide for aspiring Scientists especially from the developing world,an opportuinity to publish in leading journals. In this regard, high quality articles will be submitted to the Journal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (JBCB) and Bioinformation for publication.

Presenter & hub connection

Hardware preparation

1. You will need a computer with Windows or Mac OSX.
2. You will need a fast Internet connection using an Ethernet cable. IMPORTANT: Do not use wireless, since it will cause your connection to drop.
3. You will need a headphone/microphone combination and a webcam with 320x240 or 640x480 resolution. A microphone with a foam windscreen is strongly recommended. Test that these work at least a day before the event/course.

Video preparation

4. Set your computer's screen resolution to 1024x768.
5. Increase the font size on any applications that you will be showing. (This should also be a consideration when making slides.)

Logging on

6. Log in as guest to the URL provided (TBA). (If your computer is behind a firewall or the port is blocked, try changing the "connection type" to use "Port 80".) A host from Bioinformatics.Org will moderate.

If you cannot connect or communicate with the host online, call the technical staff via Skype number (TBA).

Audio preparation

7. Make sure your cell phone is silenced.
8. Make sure your computer isn't playing audio on speakers or capturing/recording desktop sounds (“stereo mix”). Your microphone should be your only capture/recording device.
9. Make sure your microphone is positioned below your chin, if using a headset. This will help prevent audio “popping” from your breath.
10. When you are ready to begin, click on the “Lock” button in the upper-left frame. The volume should always be less than maximum.

Desktop sharing

11. Click on the “ShowMyDesktop” button in the lower-left frame. If you do not see this button or you see “Install ShowMyDesktop”, call the technical staff via Skype number (TBA).
12. Click on the green “Start” button (show the entire desktop).
13. Anything you now see on your desktop (such as a slide show) will be seen by the attendees.

IMPORTANT: Host and guest messages in the chat box will be indicated by an audio chime. If you hear that, please look at the chat box.

14. When finished, click on the red “Stop” button.

Additional information for hubs

One person should be in-charge to communicate during conference on behalf of the hub.

The webcam should be placed such that the audience are captured.

A projector will be needed to project the conference proceedings on a wall visible to all participants.

A public address system will be needed with audible enough speakers - connected to the computer to project sound to the audience.

For hubs with presenters: the presenter should be in a different location from the audience to prevent problems with audio feedback. This is the simplest approach. Otherwise, you may need to turn off the public address speakers during the presentation. You will at least need a separate computer for the presenter.

Additional information for presenters

Please liaise with Jeff so that he can assist you pre-record your presentations before the main Bifx09 conference on 19th Feb 2009.

He will firstly give you a tour of the Megameeting software to be used for the same, before the actual recording to be done on the Bioinformatics.Org servers.

NB: The recorded presentations will be available after the main conference to anyone in the world who will not have been able to attend the main event and will also act as a backup in case you the presenter experiences any technical problems on the conference day.


Organizing Committee chairs:

Committee: Segun Fatumo, Sheila Ommeh, Kavisha Ramdayal, Kenneth Babu, Nelson Ndegwa, Souiai Ouissem, Stanley Mbandi, Fatogoma Sorho

Program Committee:

Technical Committee:

See also

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