Saturday, 29 October 2011
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
|Nelson sorting male pupae for the|
for the aggression experiments
|Steven prepearing to perform antennogram|
recordings in Drosophila
Group 7 (Alfred, Sam, Ngattu): Will perform electroretinogram recordings in various species of insects, including Drosophila to compare the temporal resolution of their visual system.
|Lucille and Maureen setting up the|
larvae memory experiments
|Goji, Ezekiel, Afred, Abba and Paulin|
prepearing the olfactory experiments
in adult Drosophila
|Sylviane checking out some flies|
|Paulin setting up the|
larval olfactory essays
Monday, 24 October 2011
|Picture 1. Improvised set-up for recording activity of flight|
muscles in locust
|Picture 3. One student explains the rest the experiment on olfactory|
choice in Drosophila that his group performed the day before
Thursday, 20 October 2011
The second week is over and we have had a chance to hear the students presentations of their current projects. At the end we asked each of them to do a little drawing representing their project on the board of the lab. The final result can be seen in the picture.
Abba has studied the correlation between the relative length of the index and ring finger, which is determined by age 2 and correlates with the prenatal exposure to androgens, and other traits that are determined later on as the diameter of the wrist and hip circumferences. His passion is the study of memory retrieval.
Paulin is studying in Cameroon the potential of a plant (I’ll keep the name so no-one can steal his idea) in the war against those ticks that martyrize the cattle (and anyone who shares the path with them, I am the proof of that).
Lucille works evaluating the action of insecticides in Tanzania, doing lab and field studies to analyze their efficacy and safety.
Ngattu studies malaria, tuberculosis and meningitis from an epidemiologic point of view and searches for a better and quicker diagnose to reduce the risk of contagion.
Nelson works in Malawi analyzing the efficacy of malaria drugs in pregnant women and uses genetic markers to study the resistance to drugs in Plasmodium (the little creature that generates the disease). He is already thinking about using Drosophila as a model to study malaria and the resistance to drugs.
Sam has studied the torsion angle of the humerus (the representation of the anatomy department of the Kampala International University –KIU- , co-organizer of the course, is noticeable). Using this course as a start-up, a Masters in Anatomy and Neurobiology is going to begin at KIU, and Sam wants to continue his research comparing the number of synapsis in lab animals vs animals from the wild. Will wild animals have more synapsis? and, if they do, will they be smarter?
Steven is characterizing the proteins involved in odor perception in tse-tse fly and is very interested in the possibility of using Drosophila as a model system.
Jimmy, another anatomist, has studied the epidemiology of atherosclerosis (the deposit of fat plaques in the arteries).
Yunusa, the youngster of the course, is still thinking what to do for his Master’s project. He has a great passion for public health and wants to do a PhD in a good institution studying mental dementia in HIV patients.
Iliya Ezekiel is interested in the study of epilepsy and sleep. Before the course, he was thinking in an experimental setting to study spatial learning in rats. Now he is considering a change of system.
Sylviane, also from Cameroon, is analyzing the effect of traditional remedies to treat epilepsy.
Maureen, who has come all the way from Kenya with her little baby, studies the epidemiology of diverse diseases and the distribution of the different mosquito species that transmit them.
Okpanachi Alfred is studying diabetes type II.
Goji has studied the effect of an African plant extract in the level of glucose in the blood using rats to which they have induced hyperglycemia.
Bolaji Samuel wants to study the effects of the combined use of alcohol and cannabis and he is also studying the possibility of using Drosophila as a model.
Joseph’s research focuses on the analysis of the effect of some traditional plant extracts used to treat erectile dysfunction.
(Students, please, forgive me if I misplaced something or if trying to summarize I simplified your work so much that the description is almost wrong)
|Picture 1. Students learning about fly genetics by looking through|
the four donated dissecting microscopes.
We also have one inverted compound microscope (Donated by Jim Haseloff) where to look at fluorescent Drosophila brains. We have fitted it in one corner and make a "dark room" with an improvised curtain, which actually works pretty well (see picture 2).
|Figure 2 (b). Fluorescent microscope|
inside the "dark room".
|Picture 2 (a). "Dark room" created to|
house the fluorescent microscope
We also have two larval behavioural set-ups (see picture 3) each of them consisting of a webcam attached to a computer, and a behavioural arena consisting of a peltier device (cooling module from old computers that we use to control temperature precisely by connecting it to two A batteries) to manipulate neuronal activity in neurons of genetically modified larvae (expressing UAS-shibts, and UAS-DTripA).
|Figure 3. Larval behavioural set-up. Total cost: aprox. £60|
(Computer: £30, webcam: £17, peltier device: £10, fan: £0)
The lab is also now equipped with 6 small neurophysiology amplifiers, which are a loan from the Department of Zoology at Cambridge, where they were built. Glen Harrison, who made the amplifiers at Cambridge, has kindly send us the planes so that they can be built here locally (see picture 4). We also have a soldering station to make electrodes locally as we need them (see picture 5).
|Picture 5. Soldering station to make our|
|Picture 6. Collection of big insects in|
our improvised cages.
Initially, as the room temperature during the day is around 23C which approximates the 25C at which we regularly keep our incubators, we were just leaving the flies outside. However during the night the temperature falls to around 17C, and it becomes quite difficult to plan the crosses to be ready for the experiments on a particular day. If you know how much an incubator cost, you probably already understand why we don't have an incubator here. However, what we do have is an old oven, which by playing with the temperature knob we have managed to convert in an improvised incubator (see picture 7).
|Picture 7.Oven used as|
incubator by regulating the
temperature to aprox. 25C
|Figure 8. Picture of the lab on the day I arrived, and today, with all the equipment that we brought over.|
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Monday, 17 October 2011
Friday, 7 October 2011
The people in the photo are:
Top row (from left to right): Mrs. Priscilia Kobusingye, Mrs. Winfred Bukenya, Dr. Kintu Mungaga, Mr. Fred Mwesigwa, Mr. Richard Kirungi, Dr. Ahmed Adedeji, Mr. Francis Ndagire, Dr. Ponchang Apollos Wuyep, Dr. Peter Ekanem, Mr. Mubiru Livingstone.
Bottom row (from left to right): Dr. Lucia Prieto (me), Dr. Sadiq Yusuf.
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Friday, 9 September 2011
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Monday, 4 July 2011
Sunday, 3 July 2011
If you are short on time, I recommend reading this short article on how scientist in Europe and US can help the development of science in sub-Saharan Africa. What I am trying to do here is just what it is suggested in the article: to do my individual contribution, that hopefully will make at least a bit a difference. Please read here: A helping hand
I also recommend to check their website, they are an organization that aims to strengthen research capacity in East Africa.