The Nigerian Bioinformatics and Genomics Network (NBGN) 2021 conference held at Landmark University from 11th to 13th October 2021. It brought together scholars across the globe to share their knowledge on the theme "Leveraging Bioinformatics and Genomics for the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals." The 2nd edition of the conference, which drew over a hundred online and onsite participants from around the world, focused on the problem of underdevelopment in Africa, particularly in the areas of health, agriculture, science and technology, and proposed practical solutions to the problems. 

The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Landmark University,  Professor Charity Aremu, while receiving the NBGN team in a courtesy call meeting, described the conference’s quest  as timely in combating the current challenges in African continent. Professor Aremu, who highlighted the relevance of  the theme of the NBGN 2021 conference to society, the nation, and the continent of Africa as a whole, stated that issues of concern, particularly in the area of health, would be adequately addressed with the application of bioinformatics and genomics. She also made known the readiness of the University to collaborate with professional bodies, research institutes as well as industries in proffering solution to world challenges. According to her, the NBGN conference 2021 is in tandem with Landmark’s drive of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals through teaching, research, training and community impact.  Professor Charity Aremu, thereafter, welcomed the NBGN team, organizers, 54gene team and other participants to Landmark University as she urged them to make the most of the conference. 

The Registrar, Miss Adefunke Fola Oyinloye focused her remarks on the need for a synergy between Landmark University and NBGN to turn research work into products. She expressed hope that the NBGN conference 2021 would not be a conference without a tangible proof; it would rather get people thinking for more productivity at the end. 

Earlier, the President Nigerian Bioinformatics and Genomics Network (NBGN), Dr Charles Adetunji, said that NBGN 2021 conference would be all encompassing in approach towards promoting the United Nations’ SDGs, noting the Landmark’s inspiring and passionate quest for its attainment. “It is high time our industry, research, institutes, academia policymakers came together to have a kind of sustainable network. The theme of the conference is in line with what your University is driving. We are following the trend Landmark is going as one of the top Universities in the world making passionate contributions towards the achievement of the UN SDGs”, he added. 

Also speaking, the NBGN Vice-President, Dr Itunuoluwa Isewon, stated that one of the things that informed the venue of the conference is that the association noticed a growing Bioinformatics community in Landmark University. She added that the association is optimistic that the University would explore plant bioinformatics and genomics to attain the agrarian mandate, an area not so many institutions have discovered thereby heralding Landmark as a force to reckon with and centre of excellence in the area. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulsalam Adeoti accompanied by His Oba-in-Council, decried the nation’s low level transition from analogue to digital which according to him has taken its toll on the socio- economic and cultural sectors. He then expressed optimism in the multi diversity prowess of bioinformatics and genomics in solving some of the challenges facing the nation. “To drive the agrarian revolution of Landmark University, we should all be up and doing, we used to have groundnut pyramid and the likes but unfortunately, there is no sustainability. I believe this conference is to enhance sustainable living and management of our resources and I hope this would be impactful”, he said. 

The chair of the conference, who is also the immediate past president and founder NBGN, Dr. Segun Fatumo of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, appreciated Landmark University’s support while he urged participants to make their presence in the conference worthwhile professionally especially with respect to medicine and health sectors. Dr. Fatumo revealed that NGBN was born out of the passion to impact the career of academic folks in bioinformatics and genomics in Nigeria. According to him, NBGN boasts of over 2000 members globally since its creation in 2014 making impact in academic research on bioinformatics. 

The highlights of the 2nd Conference of the Nigerian Bioinformatics and Genomics were the sessions of Keynote presentations by distinguished trailblazers in the areas of bioinformatics and genomics. One of the Keynote Speakers was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)  of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong who presented a paper on “Accelerated Achievement: How Bioinformatics and Genomics Can Advance the Attainment of the Sustainability Development Goal”. Other Keynote Speakers included Dr. Amy Bentley – “The Importance of Representation of African Ancestry Populations in Genomic Research”; Professor Nicola Mulder - “Bioinformatics training and its implication for SDGs in Africa”; and Dr. Solomon Rotimi, “Cancer Genomics and its Implication for SDGs in Africa”.  

NBGN 2021 Conference also gave meritorious award to four outstanding awardees in recognition of their dedication and outstanding contributions to the development of bioinformatics and genomics in Nigeria. They were Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, Founder and CEO 54gene; Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Professor Christian Happi, Director, African Centre of Excellence for Genmics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID); and Professor Clement Bewaji, Director, Research at West African Bioinformatics Research Initiative (WABRI). 

The Conference which accepted fifty four poster presentations recorded close to two hundred and fifty participants online and onsite drawn across the globe. The Conference was rounded off at a cocktail party where participants shared their conference experiences and goodwill. 

Dignitaries at the event included the Kwara State Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Barrister Ibrahim Suleiman who represented the State Governor; wife of the Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker, Hajia Mutiat Yakubu Danladi; Omu-Aran Council of Chiefs among others.




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