Jimena Sierralta (Co-organizer). Universidad de Chile, Santiago, CHILE | Andrea Calixto (Co-organizer). Universidad Mayor, Santiago, CHILE | John Ewer (Co-organizer). Universidad de Valparaiso, Valparaiso, CHILE
Mark Alkema, University of Massachusetts, USA | Claire Benard, Université du Québec à Montréal, CANADA | Alexandra Byrne, University of Massachusetts, USA | Inés Carrera, Universidad de la Repúlblic a, Montevideo, URUGUAY | Bassem Hassan, ICM, Paris, FRANCE | Carlos Oliva, Universidad Católica, Santiago, CHILE | Diego Rayes, INIBIBB-CCT-CONICET, Bahia Blanca, ARGENTINA | Carolina Rezaval, Birmingham University, Birmingham, UK | Brian Smith, Arizona State University, USA | Travis Thomson, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, USA | Scott Waddell, University of Oxford, Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, Oxford, UK | Geraldine Wright, Hertford College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK | Bing Zhang, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA
The use of invertebrate model systems (Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, bees, among others) has had a tremendous impact in neuroscience research worldwide. However, Latin America has lagged behind in the use of these systems despite their obvious advantages, including unprecedented experimental power and comparatively low costs. Part of the problem has been the limited local knowhow of the tools, approaches, and advantages that these invertebrate models provide for neuroscience and biomedical research. The “Small Brains, Big Ideas” course has been offered every 2 years since 2010 and aims to overcome these shortcomings by increasing awareness of the utility of these systems and by providing practical laboratory experience.
The Biannual “Small Brains, Big Ideas” Course first took place in Santiago, Chile, October 2010 and has been offered every 2 years ever since. So far it has successfully trained over 100 Latin‐American students in recent advances and modern techniques in neurosciences, primarily focusing on the use of Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, Monarch butterflies, and bees, for biomedical research.