Drosophila Research and Training Centre, Nigeria, is a non-profit organisation established in 2019 for the purpose of facilitating the use of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit or vinegar fly) as a cost-effective, alternative animal model for biomedical research and teaching in Sub-Saharan African countries.
Drosophila is a powerful model that can be used to enhance research capacity and scale up research output in Nigeria and Africa. It has been used at the forefront of biomedical research for over a century leading to 6 Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Physiology and is accepted world-wide as an alternative to mammalian research models. It has been approved by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Models (ECVAM).
The key principle behind the use of Drosophila:
Research in fly is highly efficient and cost-effective, ideal to achieve detailed mechanistic and in-depth conceptual understanding of the fundamental biology that underpins known human conditions and disease; since findings tend to be evolutionarily conserved, they can be validated in rodent models in a focussed manner paving the way towards applied research. For more detail, read this article.
At DRTC, we seek to develop awareness of the potential that fly research has, and to build capacity of scientists in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa to conduct cutting-edge research capitalising on Drosophila melanogaster as an alternative model. For this, we use a number of strategies:
- DRTC teams up with collaborators within and outside Nigeria to fulfil this objective, with strong collaborative and supportive links being established. For more detail see the "Collaborators" tab.
- DRTC organises conferences and workshops, to train scientists on the use of Drosophila melanogaster in biomedical research. One of such workshops was held in conjunction with Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State, Nigeria in March 2020. A brief report of this can be found here.
- DRTC provides on-site training on our premises run by an experience team which are fully equipped to provide the possibility to book time and perform experiments in our laboratories. For more details see our "Services" tab.
- DRTC offers consultancy to researchers and institutions interested in setting up Drosophila laboratories.
- DRTC maintains and keeps different fly strains to ensure availability to scientists in different institutions in Nigeria. We are open to your suggestions as to what stocks would help your research. For more detail see the "Fly stocks" tab.
- DRTC has established procedures in place to order fly stocks from abroad and serves as a hub for their import and distribution across Nigeria.
- We utilise Drosophila as a tool to teach biology at primary and secondary schools, based on rationales and strategies explained in greater detail here. For more details about our school outreach, see our "Drosophila for schools" tab. We have held school outreaches at the following schools: Primary: Kingdom Heritage Model Schools (KHMS) at Goshen City, Nasarawa State and Basorun Ibadan, Oyo State; Secondary: Faith Academy, Goshen City, Nasarawa State and All Souls’ High School, Bodija, Ibadan Oyo State, Nigeria. These school outreach events were co-facilitated by Mariana Alves (EMBL, Germany), Dr Alex Whitworth (University of Cambridge, UK) and Prof. Andreas Prokop (Manchester University, UK).