Using Neuroscience to teach how to carry out top-quality and affordable science.
Every summer we organize a 3-week school on “Insect neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics” in Africa. This school is very special for a number of reasons. For one, it is dear to us because it was the very first activity organized by TReND, indeed the one that sparked the rest of our projects. This school had such a great catalytic power because it is not “just” a neuroscience school – instead we use neuroscience as a tool to teach about science in general. We provide our students with skills that are useful in any scientific context, such as statistics, scientific writing, bio-informatics, open source, creative problem solving, management of resources, and, perhaps most importantly, a creative approach to affordable lab solutions.
This school was successful from the very beginning due to its novelty within the scientific African context. We took the high profile and very successful “Neural Systems & Behaviour” school in Woods Hole as a model, and we organized for the first time in Uganda a 3 week school that was extremely lab-practical-based, and that counted as faculty recognized experts from some of the best Universities in the world. As a result our students came out of this school empowered with the knowledge needed to apply what they learn to the research they want to do, and with a series of important connections with renowned and influential scientists abroad.
Our alumni are now forming an ever growing network of scientists in Africa that communicate and can help each other. Additionally some of our alumni are now the organizers of TReND outreach events and are thus spreading their knowledge to school students and their teachers.
If you would like to have more details about our summer neuroscience schools, you can check the report of each school where we put all the details, including student’s feedback.
– 4th IBRO school on insect neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics, KIU Dar es Salaam campus, Tanzania. 24th October 13th November 2016 . Applications will open in summer 2016.
– 3rd IBRO school on insect neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics, Department of Zoology, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 11th-30th August 2014 . Applications will likely open in April 2014. Faculty Booklet, Picture Gallery
– 2nd IBRO school on insect neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics, School of Health Sciences, Kampala International University, Uganda. 19th August – 8th September 2013. Full report. programme. Faculty Booklet 2013. Picture Gallery
– 1st IBRO school on insect neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics, School of Health Sciences, Kampala International University, Uganda. 20th August – 7th September 2012. report. programme. IBRO2012 Course Booklet . Picture Gallery
Neuroscience school Team:
Lucia Prieto Godino, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Tom Baden, University of Tübingen, Germany
Sadiq Yusuf, Kampala International University, Uganda
Flora Stephano, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Jelena Aleksic, University of Cambridge, UK
Isabel Peset Martin, University of Cambridge, UK
Yunusa Garba, Gombe State University, Uganda
Why is it important
Two main reasons: On the one hand we empower scientists in Africa to carry out the science they want to do, science that can change the future of their countries. On the other hand we put them in contact with each other and with Western researchers, thus bridging the often huge communication gap between scientists worldwide which can lead to fruitful international collaborations.
Why is it unique
Due to the lack of resources, and the generalised top-down university culture in many African countries, comparable schools organised on the continent are often heavily dependent on theoretical sessions and feature short or none at all laboratory practicals. Additionally most summer schools organized by IBRO up to 2011 were shorter. Our programme, which was inspired by the famous NS&B at Woods Hole course, was the first IBRO course to last for 3 weeks and to introduce a heavy load of laboratory sessions. Due to the success of our format, IBRO has changed its policy to preferentially fund courses of this type. Additionally, we have been pioneers in introducing open source software and hardware in the implementation of a neuroscience summer school in Africa. To our knowledge we were also the first to organise a course featuring Drosophila neurogentics on the continent.
Who do we target
African researchers at the graduate or post-graduate level
The main scalability of the neuroscience schools comes from the fact that our growing network of alumni collaborate among themselves, organise TReND outreach events and in the future, they might be able to organise similar schools as these ones by themselves.