A review of Bioinformatics training applied to research in Molecular Medicine, Agriculture and Biodiversity in Costa Rica and Central America

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Today, Bioinformatics has become a scientific discipline with great relevance for the Molecular Biosciences and for the Omics sciences in general. Although developed countries have progressed with large strides in Bioinformatics education and research, in other regions, such as Central America, the advances have occurred in a gradual way and with little support from the Academia, either at the undergraduate or graduate level. To address this problem, the University of Costa Rica’s Medical School, a regional leader in Bioinformatics in Central America, has been conducting a series of Bioinformatics workshops, seminars and courses, leading to the creation of the region’s first Bioinformatics Master’s Degree. The recent creation of the Central American Bioinformatics Network (BioCANET), associated to the deployment of a supporting computational infrastructure (HPC Cluster) devoted to provide computing support for Molecular Biology in the region, is providing a foundational stone for the development of Bioinformatics in the area. Central American bioinformaticians have participated in the creation of as well as co-founded the Iberoamerican Bioinformatics Society (SOIBIO). In this article, we review the most recent activities in education and research in Bioinformatics from several regional institutions. These activities have resulted in further advances for Molecular Medicine, Agriculture and Biodiversity research in Costa Rica and the rest of the Central American countries. Finally, we provide summary information on the first Central America Bioinformatics International Congress, as well as the creation of the first Bioinformatics company (Indromics Bioinformatics), spin-off the Academy in Central America and the Caribbean.

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