Skip to main content

About eLwazi

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board:

Philip E. Bourne

Philip E. Bourne leads a range of initiatives to encourage and facilitate the use of big data in large-scale research across the scientific and technological disciplines, with special emphasis on structural bioinformatics and systems pharmacology. He is the Founding Dean of the School of Data Science and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. From 2014-2017, Phil was the Associate Director for Data Science at the National Institutes of Health. In this role he led the Big Data to Knowledge Program, coordinating access to and analyzing biomedical research from across the globe and making it available to scientists and researchers. While there, he was also responsible for governance and strategic planning activities for data and knowledge management, and established multiple trainings in data science. He has done exceptional work to make biomedical research accessible, as well as to advance the field of data science. Prior to his time at the NIH, Phil spent 20 years on the faculty at the University of California-San Diego, eventually becoming Associate Vice Chancellor of Innovation and Industrial Alliances. He is a highly respected and oft-cited scholar who brings a wealth of experience to UVA."

Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa

Dr Motshegwa is the incoming inaugural Director of the African Open Science Platform (AOSP) with the strategic portfolio to direct and support the AOSP. AOSP aims to position African scientists at the cutting edge of data intensive science by stimulating interactivity and creating opportunity through the development of efficiencies of scale, building critical mass through shared capacities, amplifying impact through a commonality of purpose and voice, and to engage in Global Commons to address continental and global challenges through joint action. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from City, University Of London, School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, UK. Regionally, he has been Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) of the Technical Experts Working Group developing and implementing the SADC Cyberinfrastructure Framework - this to develop a regional commons of compute, networks, data and skills. Globally, he is a member of the Open Science Clouds Executives Roundtable (OSCER) that promotes collaboration through Open Science in practice toward optimal global interoperability. Nationally, Dr Motshegwa was seconded to the Ministry of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology, Government of Botswana around the SmartBotswana National Digital Transformation Initiative regarding ""Education Towards a Knowledge Economy"" including the digital transformation of the research , science , technology and innovation (RSTI) ecosystem of the country.

Dr Melanie Courtot

Dr Courtot is the Director of Genome Informatics and incoming Principal Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). Her team develops new software, databases and other necessary components to store, organize and compute over the large and complex datasets being generated by OICR’s cancer research programs. She is passionate about translational informatics - building intelligent systems to gain new insights and impact human health. Dr Courtot co-lead the Data Use and Cohort representation groups for the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), as well as cohort harmonization efforts for Common Infrastructure for National Cohorts in Europe, Canada, and Africa (CINECA), the International HundredK+ Cohorts Consortium (IHCC) and the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative. Prior to joining OICR in January 2022, she was the metadata standards coordinator for the archival and infrastructure team at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), where she designed tools to streamline multi-omics submissions and developed integrated metadata strategies across the institute’s archival resources and other projects such as FAIRPlus, focusing on data quality, semantic enrichment, and standardization for pharmaceutical and cohort data respectively. After receiving a BSc in Biochemistry and Master in Computer Science (2002) from the Université Louis Pasteur, in Strasbourg, France, Dr Courtot spent several years in different countries working as an international consultant/software developer. She rejoined academia in 2009 to start my PhD in Bioinformatics (graduated 2014) from the University of British Columbia, and did postdoctoral research at Simon Fraser University, before joining EMBL-EBI in June 2015 to lead the Gene Ontology (GO) editorial office and the Gene Ontology Annotation (GOA) projects. Dr Courtot can be found on twitter, @mcourtot, where she often post about science, equity and diversity, food and silly things she or her children do.

Prof. Vukosi Marivate

Prof Vukosi Marivate is the ABSA UP Chair of Data Science at the University of Pretoria and an Associate Professor of Computer Science. Vukosi works on developing Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence methods to extract insights from data. A large part of his work over the last few years has been in the intersection of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. Vukosi's work in this area focuses on techniques to improve tools for and availability of data for local languages or low resource languages. He currently serves as a chief investigator on the Masakhane NLP project ( and on the steering committee of the Lacuna Fund ( As part of his vision for Data Science, Vukosi is interested in Data Science for Social Impact (, using local challenges as a springboard for research. In this area, Vukosi has worked on projects in science, energy, public safety and utilities. Vukosi is a co-founder of the Deep Learning Indaba, the largest Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence workshop on the African continent, aiming to strengthen African Machine Learning.