Open | 8 May – 15 July, 2024 |

This course aims to bridge the gap in Latin America’s scientists’ utilization of invertebrate model systems in neuroscience research. By providing practical laboratory experience and increasing awareness of the advantages these systems offer, the course has successfully trained over 100 Latin-American students in recent advances and techniques for biomedical research.


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.

Application deadline:
15 July, 2024

School dates and location:
17-27 October, 2024
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile,
Las Cruces, Chile

School website:

Open to:
Latin America

Apply HERE

For any queries, please write to the organizer at 


The “Small Brains, Big Ideas” course is aimed at students and early-career investigators who need to gain first hand experience in the use of these invertebrate model systems. So, the applicants can be Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD students, as well as postdocs and junior faculty.

To apply you will need to provide a Curriculum vitae, a letter of intent, and have a letter of recommendation sent directly to the address included in the application form. Since the course is taught in English, the letter must contain an assessment of your ability to communicate in English.


Acceptance to the course includes the cost of shared housing during the course, travel to Las Cruces and Valparaíso and most of the meals.

A small number of travel fellowships will be offered to students who do not have any other sources of funding to pay for the trip. If you need the fellowship please justify your request in the application form. Please include the amount needed and what it would cover.

As funds are extremely limited we cannot guarantee that you will be awarded a travel fellowship and encourage you to look for alternatives sources of funding for the trip.


Apply HERE by 15 July, 2024.

For any queries, please write to