Biology Establishes an Aquatic Facility for Zebrafish

Posted on 12/19/2012 8:26:58 AM

A zebrafish facility for research and student training is now located on the third floor of Weyandt Hall. It was established by Biology faculty members Cuong Diep and Robert Major using a National Science Foundation grant, supplemented by funds from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The facility, which can house up to 10,000 adult zebrafish, will also be used in the future for courses such as Animal Developmental Biology (BIOL 331) and Genetics (BIOL 263).

The zebrafish facility in Weyandt hall
The aquarium system from Aquaneering has a four-stage filtration system that provides clean and sterile recirculating water into the fish tanks.

Tubingen zebrafishThe zebrafish is a powerful model organism for medical research. As a vertebrate, it possesses many of the same organs and tissues that humans have. Embryonic development in the zebrafish occurs externally, so the embryos are accessible for observation and manipulation for developmental studies. Unlike humans, however, zebrafish can regenerate many of their organs and tissues. Thus, understanding how they regrow injured body parts can provide insights into designing treatments for many human diseases, such as diabetes and kidney and heart diseases.

Above right: The Tubingen zebrafish strain is commonly used as a "wild-type", or control, strain by many scientists.

Diep is currently using zebrafish as a model system to study the role of stem cells during kidney development and regeneration. In the near future, Major plans to use zebrafish to study heart development and regeneration.

GloFish strain of zebrafishLeft: The GloFish strain has bright fluorescence even under normal lighting condition. Fluorescent colors include red, green, orange, blue and purple. This strain can be used to follow the fate of stem cells because every cell in the fluorescent fish is permanently labeled with that specific color.

Biology students and faculty will use the zebrafish facility in their research
Biology students and faculty using the zebrafish facility in their research include (from front right): Samantha Eichelberger, Estefania Alba-Rodriguez, Tobechukwu Ukah, Paul Kelly, Junqing Situ, Cuong Diep, and Robert Major.