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The Inaugural Imaging Africa Workshop

Cape Town, South Africa

13-17 January 2020


Imaging Africa consisted of a four-day workshop followed by a one-day symposium hosted at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine in Cape Town, South Africa. This workshop introduced students exclusively from Africa to a wide diversity of topics pertinent to imaging, including:

  • Principles of microscopy, such as the fundamentals of optics, digital detectors, wide-field microscopy, laser scanning confocal, deconvolution, spinning disk confocal, and TIRF.

  • Molecular imaging tools, including the design and application of biosensors, optogenetics, chemogenetics, ‘caged’ small molecules, and engineered allosteric responses.

  • Advanced imaging approaches and techniques, such as FRAP, FRET, photoconversion, lightsheet, and super-resolution microscopy.

  • Sample preparation and maintenance of specimens for live imaging.

  • Digital image processing and quantitative image data analysis. 

  • The combined use of these various microscopy techniques in infectious disease research.

  • Applicability of microscopy in research within Africa.

  • Developing skills in scientific communication, proposal writing, and reporting of microscopy data.


Lectures served as the introduction to the various topics, including the fundamentals of microscopy, optogenetics, fluorescence probes, lightsheet microscopy, super-resolution techniques, mobile microscopes, image processing, and data analysis.

Hands-on Laboratory Sessions
Lab sessions provided practical, hands-on experience where participants were exposed to a multitude of imaging platforms and techniques. Participants were guided through microscopy-based experimentation (set-up and acquisition) with hands-on operation of microscopes that highlight the utility and strength of each modality. One goal of the workshop was to encourage approaching research questions from different perspectives and to develop skills in experimental design driven by quantitative biological inquiry. Thus, participants were given mini-projects to perform image analysis on data acquired from the microscopes. The hands-on practicals culminated in a final class project aimed at developing writing and communication skills.

Imaging Africa also included a 1-day research symposium open to all. This was an opportunity to showcase what is possible when advanced microscopy techniques are optimally applied to address important biological questions. The unique focus of the symposium was to highlight emerging technologies that are accessible to African scientists.


The Imaging Africa workshop was an ideal environment and opportunity to grow and develop research questions and ideas, develop new collaborations, and expose researchers to different perspectives and possibilities. The faculty was available throughout the workshop to provide insight and suggestions to any and all research ideas, providing opinion with the intent to grow exciting and new ideas as well as positively influence the future careers of African researchers.


  • Toka Abdelrahman Ahmed Osman   Zewail City of Science and Technology, EGYPT

  • Ebenezer Addo Ofori   Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, GHANA

  • Majahonkhe Shabangu   University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Sunday Yinka Olatunji   Babcock University, NIGERIA

  • Leigh Kotze   Stellenbosch University, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Patricia Rantshabeng   University of Botswana, BOTSWANA

  • Brenda Salasini   University of Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Caroline Beltran   Stellenbosch University, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Mohamed Ahmed Nasreldeen Mahmoud   Zewail City of Science and Technology, EGYPT

  • Solima Sabeel   University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Florence Urio   Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, TANZANIA

  • Naomi Okugbeni   Stellenbosch University, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Muturi Njokah   Kenya Medical Research Institute, KENYA

  • Joel Bargul   International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, KENYA

  • Omolara Olujimi Baiyegunhi   Africa Health Research Institute, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Joshua Labadah   University of Ghana, GHANA

  • Lucian Duvenage   University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Aimé Roland Sanhoun   Université Nangui Abrogoua, CÔTE D'IVOIRE

  • Ameera Adam   University of Khartoum, SUDAN

  • Allan Lugaajju   Makerere University, UGANDA

  • Moagi Shaku   University of the Witwatersrand, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Shafii Mohamed   Somali National University, SOMALIA

  • Sandisiwe Matyesini   Stellenbosch University, SOUTH AFRICA

  • Noé Patrick M'bondoukwé   Université des Sciences de la Santé of Gabon, GABON

Teaching Faculty

  • Teng-Leong Chew   HHMI Janelia Research Campus, US

  • Dan Fletcher   University of California–Berkeley, US

  • Klaus Hahn   University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, US

  • Musa Mhlanga   University of Cape Town, South Africa         

  • Kelly Rogers   Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia

  • Digby Warner   University of Cape Town, South Africa



Date: 17 January 2020
Time: 09:00 - 17:30

Location: Wolfson Pavilion Lecture Theatre, UCT Medical School, Cape Town, South Africa

Keynote Speakers:

Klaus Hahn
Engineering Molecules to Visualize and Control Signaling Circuits in Living Cells

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, USA

Kelly Rogers
Capturing the Dynamics of Red Blood Cell Invasion by the Malaria Parasite using High Resolution Microscopy

Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, Australia

Musa Mhlanga
Imaging in Africa: From Single Cells to Single Molecules

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Daniel Fletcher
Watching the Secret Lives of Pathogens with Light Microscopy

University of California – Berkeley, USA

Teng-Leong Chew
Emerging Frontiers in Microscopy through Open-Access Platforms
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus, USA


Invited Speakers:

Caron Jacobs
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Anna Coussens
Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, Australia

Dirk Lang
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Programme includes:

Refreshment breaks
Open-invitation Research Poster Session with lunch; please feel free to bring your research posters to the symposium
Invited student and post-doctoral researcher talks
Opening remarks by
Valerie Mizrahi
(University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Reception event with guests
Anastasia Koch and Ed Young (Eh!Woza, South Africa)

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