In terms of extension and projection to the external medium, members of MiNICAD have organized the meeting “Ion Channels in the Valley” (2011-2017, Montegrande, IV Región) under the auspices of the “Municipalidad de Paihuano”. The main idea of this meeting is to bring together national and international researchers in the field of ion channels to promote the establishment of new scientific networks. So far, three versions of this meeting have been organized and the attendance number has grown from 35 (3 international) in the first meeting (2011), to 60 attendees, with 10 of them international, including 3 presidents of Gordon Conferences of Ion Channels.
On the other hand, we have taken advantage of these opportunities to organize outreach activities in elementary and high schools in the area. During the last version of the meeting we established an alliance with a laboratory supplies company (Genexpress) that allows us to install the practical laboratory in three schools during the duration of the meeting. In these laboratories, more than a hundred students per year have conducted experiments under the guidance of scientists who traveled especially for this task. As a MiNICAD we will not only support the continuity of the meeting for the coming years, but we also plan to establish a closer relationship with the private sector to adquire optical microscopes and electrophysiology equipment to implement a permanent laboratory in the schools of the area. We intend to expand these efforts by generating a Science Education Station in the Paihuano district, where special emphasis will be given to the teaching of the participation of ion channels in physiology, in order to generate interest in the students of the area and help them in their learning activities. On the other hand, we will offer updating seminars to local teachers as part of the meeting and we will organize scientific fairs as part of the activities.
This station is of vital importance and interest for our extension program, since it is the continuation of a systematic work that has been carried out for almost 6 years. This station will serve as proof of concept for one of our new extension programs, like “Electrophysiology for all!”, where we will teach in a practical way the basics of electrophysiology to elementary and high school students. In addition, we hope that in the near future it will be linked to the “To the laboratory with my teacher!” Program, which is aimed at spreading the daily work in our center for students interested in science, giving the students the opportunity to interact with researchers from our Nucleus.