|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.|