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.