Small Brains, Big Ideas

EMBO Global Exchange Lecture Course

The course will next be offered October 18-28, 2024

Application due date: July 15th, 2024.

Apply here Download poster 2024

Faculty for 2024 course

Jimena Sierralta (Co-organizer). Universidad de Chile, Santiago, CHILE | Rebeca Aldunate, Universidad Santo Tomás, CHILE | Carlos Oliva (Co-organizer). Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago, Santiago, CHILE | John Ewer (Co-organizer). Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaiso, CHILE.

Mark Alkema, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, USA | Claire Bénard, The Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, CANADA | Mercedes Bengochea, , ICM, Paris, FRANCE | Inés Carrera, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, URUGUAY | André Chagas, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK | Maria de la Paz Fernandez, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA | Angela Giangrande, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, FRANCE (remote participation) | Bassem Hassan, ICM, Paris, FRANCE | Maria Fernanda Hornos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago, Santiago, CHILE | Daniel Kronauer, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA (Remote participation) | Angelina Palacios, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, CHILE | Rachel Parkinson, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. | Diego Rayes, INIBIBB-CCT-CONICET, Bahia Blanca, ARGENTINA | Carolina Rezaval, Birmingham University, Birmingham, UK (remote participation) | Travis Thomson, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, USA | Bruno van Swinderen, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA | Scott Waddell, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

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.

About us

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.

The importance of invertebrate research