The main objectives of this short course are:
· to expose graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, both Americans and Latin Americans, to the fundamental questions in the field of Developmental Biology and tools to investigate them;
· to forge a cadre of young investigators interested and trained in the field to continue future advances;
· to promote unique opportunities for integration between students and investigators from the United States and Latin American countries.
These goals will be achieved with the participation of top investigators and students from the Americas. The course will provide a singular opportunity for American students to learn first-hand how research is conducted in Latin America and to appreciate the chances available for scientific investigation using the biodiversity in the region, e.g. local marsupials, frogs worms and plants. The course will examine in detail the basis underlying the recent fast advancements in the field of developmental biology: Its reliance on a variety of model organisms and its ability to incorporate and generate new technologies. Top investigators (established and new experts in respective areas) will discuss the strength, weaknesses and state-of-the-art applications of model organisms, both the mainstream, e.g. Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus, chick, mouse; and emerging, such as S. mansoni, C. intestinalis , Amphioxus (Branchiostoma). In order to give the students a sense of broader possibilities in the field, the subject of evolution and development will be addressed. All together, the course content is tailored to give the students a balanced view of the potentials and limitations of model organisms and current technologies, as well as future approaches in developmental biology.
In 2003, the Latin American Society of Developmental Biology (LASDB) organized its first meeting in Valle Nevado, Chile. Just before the meeting, the society offered a practical course with the participation of lecturers from Latin America and the United States and with students from Latin America. Both meeting and practical course were remarkable successes in terms of quality of science and inclusion.
In 2005, LASDB will again take on the challenge to provide high quality events. Together with the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB) and support from the Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes Program of the National Science Foundation (U.S.A.) we will offer the satellite short course of the Second LASDB International Meeting: Model Organisms and Innovative Approaches in Developmental Biology. This course received official approval from the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.