An Introductory workshop on “Applications of Visual Analytics for research in Infectious Diseases of Poverty: Epidemiology and Control” was organised by ChiakaAnumudu, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan. It took place on Thursday 10th April (for undergraduates) and on the 11th April 2014 (for postgraduates), at the Global Classroom, Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan.
Additional support was provided by the Visual Analytics in Biology Curriculum Network, the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Southwest Biotech Centre, the Schisto-Biotech Working Group, Nigeria, and the Department of Agronomy University of Ibadan.It was a forum for participants to explore the science of visual analytics and its applications in infectious disease research.
WORKSHOP AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Information and communication technologies (ICT) enable us to collect massive datasets with the potential to inform decision-making across a broad range of activities. Fulfilling the promise of ICT depends on our ability to process datasets of a size and complexity that exceed both computational methods and human cognitive capacity. Over the past decade, large amount of datasets in biology have become available publicly.
Visual analytics aims at supporting analytical reasoning by interactive visual interfaces. This is especially useful with the generation of large and complex data in the epidemiological and genomics fields of research that impact the surveillance, control and treatment of neglected diseases of poverty.
The primary objective of the workshop was to introduce the field to senior undergraduate and postgraduate students by discussing the key issues of analytical reasoning, helping them to use visual analytics to improve their learning and to see how the visualization techniques can be applied to epidemiological data on schistosomiasis. The workshop allowed participants to learn about visualization and visual data mining techniques and applications, as well as to learn to use the Tableau software.
The workshop participantswere 13 undergraduate and 25 postgraduate students from the Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry, Botany, Microbiology, Computer Science, Zoology, Pharmacy, Veterinary Public Health and Veterinary Medicine in the University of Ibadan. They were selected after an application process through the website of University of Ibadan.
WORKSHOP APPROACH AND PROCEEDINGS
The workshop was intended to showcase the use of a visual analytics software tool, Tableau. At this first workshop, 43students from the biological science disciplines and computer science were invited, and the mix facilitated some collaboration among them. The workshop attendees had lectures on introduction to visual analytics, introduction to Tableau, visual analytics and learning, and the use of geospatial mapping in schistosomiasis epidemiology and control. These were given by experts engaged in expanding the understanding and application of visual analysis. As visual analytics is ultimately an expression of the interdisciplinary spirit at its finest, these speakers were specialists in such diverse areas as geospatial mapping, cognitive psychology, genomics, and bioinformatics. Of particular delight to the participants, was the focused and well-defined hands-on teaching style of the workshop with self-paced follow-on analysis on using Tableau.
WORKSHOP DISCUSSANTS AND FACILITATORS
Dr. Chiaka Anumudu, Cellular Parasitology Programme, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria;
Dr. Raphael Isokpehi, VABCN group, Jackson State University, United States;
Dr. Uwem Ekpo, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria;
Mr. Taoheed Abdulkareem, Molecular Biology/Biotechnology Unit, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja, Nigeria
Dr. Henrietta Awobode, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Dr.NashiruOyekanmi, Director,National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja;
Prof Victor Adetimirin, Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
In all, this workshop raised awareness among the students, of visual analytics as a core scientific tool for students, its application to schistosomiasis epidemiology research and control, and also of its importance as a learning tool. From an analysis of their responses, participants expressed satisfaction with what they learnt and called for more workshops on visual analytics, as well as an enabling environment for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
THE WORKSHOP IN PICS
WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS CHATTING WITH MR. TAOHEED ABDULKAREEM FROM NABDA,ABUJA DURING LUNCH BREAK
A CROSS-SECTION OF PARTICIPANTS AND TRAINERS IN A GROUP PHOTOGRAPH OUTSIDE THE VENUE
REGISTRATION POINT FOR PARTICIPANTS
DR. ANUMUDU OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN PREPARING FOR A SESSION WITH THE PARTICIPANTS
PARTICIPANTS LISTENING ATTENTIVELY AT THE WORKSHOP
PARTICIPANTS IN A HANDS-ON PRACTICAL SESSION
MORE PARTICIPANTS DURING THE HANDS-ON SESSION OF THE WORKSHOP