University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Tell us something interesting about your institution Wits is home to one of the largest fossil collections in the southern hemisphere and is internationally recognised as a leader in the palaeo-sciences. Wits scientists have been contributing to the palaeo-sciences record for almost a century.

What are the main research interests of your institution? Genomics, Bioinformatics, Biobanking, Clinical Trials, Pharmacogenetics, Cancer research

Class of 2016


What are the academic backgrounds of the IBT_2016 participants in the Wits classroom? Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Computer Science, Immunology

 The Wits team



Phelelani Mpangase

role for IBT_2016: teaching assistant

I obtained my BSc degree in Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in the year 2008. In 2009, I completed my BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry, also at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. I then pursued a Masters degree in Bioinformatics at the University of Pretoria, where I worked on a project aimed designing a web resource for integrating protein annotations in order to identify potential drug targets in malaria. I am now a Bioinformaticist at the University of the Witwatersrand, currently working on projects involving protein structure and function, next generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis and transcriptomics. I am also involved in teaching an introductory Bioinformatics course for 3rd year and honors students. My main research interests are protein bioinformatics, drug target discovery, data-mining/database design and transcriptomics. My passion lies in programming and designing resources that help biologists analyze their data.



Freedom Mukomana

role for IBT_2016: teaching assistant, system administrator

A holder of a B.Sc. [hons] in Computer Science and currently studying for a M. Eng. Software Engineering degree at University of Witwatersrand.



Shaun Aron

role for IBT_2016: trainer (Databases and resources), classroom PI, IBT core team member

Shaun Aron has been a member of Wits Bioinformatics since 2007 when he joined as an MSc student in Human Genetics/Bioinformatics. After completing an Honours degree in Human Genetics, he was intrigued by the computational approaches being developed to address complex biological questions and decided to hang up the pipette and pick up a computer instead. His MSc aimed to apply relevant bioinformatic techniques to characterise and possible identify the molecular cause for a rare genetic skin disorder called Keratolytic Winter Erythema. While completing his MSc he joined Wits Bioinformatics as an Associate Lecturer/Consultant in 2009 and has been involved in various teaching, training and consulting activities within the university. In 2013 he took up the position of H3ABioNet Bioinformatics Consultant/Trainer at the Wits Node of H3ABioNet. Shaun has a keen interest in the genetic basis of rare genetic disorders, population genetics and the practical application of bioinformatics for biologists. He is also actively involved in the education and training endeavours of the H3ABioNet and H3Africa AWIGEN project.


Read more about all the IBT_2016 classrooms here