Goals and Format:
To help to establish a highly skilled community of Drosophila African scientists, we are launching a series of research workshops and courses. The aim of these workshops is to engage African scientists with Drosophila and to equip them with knowledge and skills in diverse areas of biomedical research. They include theoretical as well as practical laboratory sessions, oriented to scientists actively involved in research, but also in teaching.
We have organized several workshops in Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria and two very successful online workshops with programs delivered by leading academic and research experts:
- Drosophila in Biomedical Research: Affordable and Impacting. School of Health Sciences, IBR, KIU, Ishaka, Uganda. 2013.
- Building an African Drosophila Biomedical Research Community. School of Health Sciences, IBR, KIU, Ishaka, Uganda. 2014.
- Drosophila in biomedical research: an effective and affordable model. International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya. 2016.
- Drosophila melanogaster in biomedical research: low cost and probitable. University of Ibadan, Nigeria. 2017.
- DrosAfrica Workshop on Drosophila: a low-cost and valuable model for biomedical research. Sfax University, Tunisia 2019.
- DrosAfrica Workshop on Drosophila: a simple but powerful model for biomedical research. Online 2020.
- DrosAfrica Workshop on Drosophila: a simple yet powerful model for biomedical research. Online 2021.
We have also collaborated with TReND and IBRO on courses on insect neuroscience at School of Health Sciences, IBR, KIU, Ishaka, Uganda. 2011-2013.
We have presented our workshops and vision, together with TReND, at the 5th and 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, and at the Falling Walls 2011 Conference.
We are now expanding our approach to other countries and institutions with an interest on higher education. Among these institutions is Sfax University, Tunisia.
The workshops have had around 20 participants and 10 teachers. The faculty includes the DrosAfrica founders and directors. In addition, we invite top Drosophila researchers . The faculty so far has been mainly from Europe, and the USA, but we are proud that Professor Ahmed A. Adedeji (KIU, Uganda) has already participated in one of our workshops as a faculty member.
A follow-up scheme:
We have implemented a mentoring scheme program by which each faculty member monitored and helped a small number of attendants. The aim of the scheme was to create a network of support around the attendants while implementing the knowledge acquired in the workshops for their own research and/or teaching.
Also, all alumni of the two workshops have been added to the “members only” site. The main goal of this site is creating a learning community that brings together the faculty and the participants in an environment designed to share ideas, resources and the latest developments on the use of Drosophila in the biomedical sciences. The resources include the course handbook, protocols, web resources and primary references. There is also a forum where questions can be posed and resources and recent publications shared.
Some successful stories:
- Purity N. Kipanga, Dissemination at the Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics unit at ICIPE, Nairobi.
- Steven Nyanhom, Professor at the University of Nairobi. Currently setting up a fly lab for his research.
- Ahmed A. Adedeji, Professor of Pharmacology, International College of Health Sciences and Liberal Arts, Nigeria. Alumnus of the 2013 workshop, he participated fully as faculty in the 2014 session. He uses Drosophila in his lab. Also given a talk in the West African Society for Pharmacology Conference WASP-SOAP.
- Ganiyu Abideen, a Pharmacologist in Nigeria, he is planing to do his PhD using Drosophila in his research.
- Yunusa Mohammed Garba, he obtained a MSc in 2013 for which he used Drosophila for his research project; he also collaborates with TReND to equip a research lab in his home institution, Gombe State University (Nigeria).
- Two alumni of previous DrosAfrica workshops are now doing their PhD in Marta Vicente-Crespo's lab working with Drosophila at the Institute of Biomedical Research, Kampala International University Western Campus, Uganda.