DROSOPHILA IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH: AFFORDABLE AND IMPACTING
1 CSIC (SPAIN)
2 Zoology Departmente, Cambridge (UNITED KINGDOM)
3 Institute of Biomedical Research, KIU (UGANDA)
4 University of Bath (UNITED KINGDOM)
5 University of Oxford (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 3019 (abstract only)
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Racing developments in transportation and information technology are transforming our planet into one global community. But this globalization does not benefit everybody equally. For instance, despite the forecast for science in Africa has brightened over the last decade, there are still big gaps to overcome. The problems are systemic and affect most sub-Saharan African nations: poor science education, labs poorly equipped and little practical research training. Thus, pivotal to long term success and stability of science in these societies is to provide them with the presence of local groups of highly trained knowledge workers with a broad outlook. This could be achieved in part by launching workshops, including theoretical as well as practical laboratory sessions, oriented to graduate students and young faculty actively involved in both research and teaching at their home institutions. The fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster represents and ideal model system to train scientists in different areas of medical research such as genetics, cellular and developmental biology. Contrary to the expensive vertebrate models that are more commonly used in these regions (such as rats), the fly allows for inexpensive keeping, quick mass reproduction and effective genetic manipulation. This allows any poorly-resourced environment to achieve high-quality and high-impact experimentation. With this in mind, we have launched a workshop in Uganda, open to researchers in institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, to equip regional scientist with the knowledge and practical skills to be able to use Drosophila as a model system to study human development, physiology and disease. We will discuss our experience with this course, the steps we took for its implementation and an evaluation of its effectiveness. We believe these courses can help to train top students from across the continent, which will help to establish themselves back in their home countries, where they can serve as seeds of excellence.
Keywords: Science, Africa, global education.