Joyce Akol, a molecular biology MSc student with Makerere University and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), recently participated in a two-week training organized by the Biosciences east and central Africa-ILRI (BecA-ILRI) Hub.
Akol, who works with the Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development (SPVCD) project in Uganda under the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, was trained in advanced bioinformatics in Nairobi from 18-29 Aug 2014. The training aims at strengthening the capacity of researchers in national research systems of BecA-ILRI Hub target countries and is offered through a collaboration between the BecA-ILRI Hub and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
The BecA-ILRI Hub – SLU partnership makes available genomic protocols, computational hardware and bioinformatics software to support research projects, led by researchers in national agricultural systems of eastern and central Africa, that aim to address previously intractable problems constraining Africa’s agricultural and food security development.
The SPVCD project is committed to building capacity of Ugandan researchers engaged in pig value chains research. Akol is the first student attached to the project to receive this training.
About Joyce Akol
With a background in laboratory technology, Joyce has garnered skills to investigate molecular epidemiology of viruses mainly affecting pigs in Uganda. Her Masters’ dissertation aims at understanding the molecular epidemiology of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in Uganda. She is working under Michel Dione at ILRI and with Charles Masembe from Makerere University.
Prior to this award, Akol was supported by the SPVCD project for a three-months training at ILRI-Nairobi to analyze whole blood samples for presence of ASFV using real-time PCR. She has also worked with the Ugandan National Crop Resources Research Institute as a research assistant in a project to combat cassava brown streak virus using marker-assisted technology and inbreeding in resistant varieties and farmer preferred varieties of cassava.