Despite the flies' contribution to scientific research through the ages, including four Nobel prizes, there is a concern that fewer scientists are aware of their potential. Part of the reason for this has been a trend away from basic genetics training in schools and universities which makes it harder for newcomers to the fly.
To combat this Dr Prokop put together a training package for second year undergraduate students. Unlike any other material it assumes no prior knowledge of flies and takes students back to basics.
Together with John Roote, the manager of a fly facility in Cambridge, Dr Prokop has now taken the student manual to the next level, developing it into a four part training package for all scientists. It includes a self-study introductory manual, a short practical session on gender and marker selection, an interactive Powerpoint presentation and finally an independent training exercise in mating scheme design.
Sanjai Patel manages Manchester's fly facility and says the training package has had a real impact: "I was spending a lot of my time at the facility training students how to use the flies for their research. They would struggle with some of the basic concepts of fly research and keep coming back with questions. The training manual is self-explanatory. After they've been through it I do an intense but brief session with them to assess their understanding and then they're usually confident enough to start using the flies. The training package means I spend a lot less time teaching students the basics."
Dr Prokop says it's a well rounded package: "We wanted to make sure that key aspects of fly research become apparent to the newcomer right away, su
|Contact: Morwenna Grills|
University of Manchester