Neuroscience schools

5th TReND school on insect neuroscience and Drosophila neurogenetics

KIU Dar es Salaam campus, Tanzania.

17th August 5th September 2015

Applications will open in late spring 2015.

Aims and scope

To introduce the use of insects as powerful yet inexpensive model systems in neuroscientific research. With their comparatively simple nervous systems, tractable genetic access and low maintenance costs, Drosophila and other insects have rapidly consolidated their status as key model systems in scientific research. We will explore questions on basic research in neuroscience as well as research with important applications, such as mosquito genetics or how Drosophila can be used as a model for human diseases. For example, combining the knowledge we have on Drosophila neurogenetics with research in mosquito biology is a powerful strategy to understand the molecular and neural basis of their devastating host seeking behaviour, and how this can help to design knowledge-driven strategies to control it. This course aims to introduce key concepts in insect genetics and neuroscience to scientists at African institutions to promote the use of such model systems in their research. Subjects covered will range from lab maintenance and grant writing to state of the art neurogenetics, behavioural and electrophysiological research techniques.

Program and faculty of the course

The course will be divided in three (3) weeks. The first week will be a general theoretical and practical introduction to the field. The second and third weeks will consist of theoretical lectures common to all students and a series of alternative practical modules. Students will choose one out of three practical modules running in parallel each week.


Week 1: Introduction

Insects as Model Organisms in Neuroscience, Introduction to Neurogenetics, Electrophysiology, Scientific Ethics, Open Source

Week 2:

Module A: Function and Development of Motor and Mechanosensory systems. Matthias Landgraf.

Module B: Evolution and environmental control of body size and foraging behaviour in Drosophila larva. Marta Rivera Alba, Christen Mirth

Module C: Taste in Drosophila. Olivia Schwarz (tbc)

Week 3:

Module A: Olfaction in Drosophila and mosquitoes – CRISPR Cas9 genome editing technologies. Ben Matthews and Lucia Prieto

Module B: Olfaction in Drosophila and bees – Calcium Imaging and Physiology. Georg Raiser and Tom Laudes

Module C: Drosophila as a model for human disease (tbc).


Who should apply?

– All African scientists: Master students, PhD students, Postdoctoral Fellows, Group Leaders and Heads of Department

– The course is intensive, running 6 days a week from 9am in the morning to 8pm in the evening, and requires strong involvement, motivation and drive to learn from the students.

– Only applicants from African Institutions will be accepted

– Students will be selected on the basis of their academic record and written statements concerning their interest in neuroscience and how they expect to benefit from participating in the course

– There will be no attendance fee.

– There will be a number of grants for students coming from outside Dar es Salaam. The grants will cover round plane ticket from a major international airport and accommodation.



Dr. Tom Baden (CIN/BCCN, Tübingen, Germany)

Dr. Laura Lucia Prieto Godino (CIG, Lausanne, Switzerland)

Prof. Sadiq Yusuf (KIU, Bushenyi, Uganda)

Yunusa M Garba (Gombe State University, Nigeria)



Tom Baden (CIN/BCCN, Tübingen, Germany)

Sarah Carl (FMI Basel, Switzerland)

Jeremy Herren (icipe, Nairobi, Kenya) (tbc)

Matthias Landgraf (Dept Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK)

Tom Laudes (University of Konstanz, Germany)

Ben Matthews (Rockefeller University, New York, USA)

Christen Mirth (Inst Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal)

Laura Lucia Prieto Godino (CIG, Lausanne, Switzerland)

Georg Raiser (University of Konstanz, Germany)

Marta Rivera Alba (HHMI Janelia Farm, USA)

Horst Schneider (Innowep, Würzburg, Germany)

Olivia Schwarz (FMI Basel, Switzerland). (tbc)

Sadiq Yusuf (KIU, Bushenyi, Uganda)




Mwichie Nambusamba (University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia)

Yunusa M Garba (Gombe State University, Nigeria)