Zebrafish unit

Fast embryonic development, transparent embryos, and the availability of a large number of mutants have rendered zebrafish one of the favorite models in developmental biology. Rapidly increasing knowledge of the zebrafish genome has also enabled efficient identification of important genes in this species. Whereas most studies thus far have concentrated on identifying early developmental phenotypes from mutation screens and development of  transgenic models, the research carried out at the Neuroscience Center focuses on new methods utilizing high-resolution confocal and two-photon imaging of developing neuronal networks, and automated quantitative behavioural analysis. One of the goals is to extend efficient phenotype analysis to a phase in which the CNS produces complex behaviours. Current projects aim at identifying the roles of newly identified genes, the mutations of which produce severe human diseases. Models of human diseases related to disorders of the aminergic neuronal systems are also being developed. The methods used include gene cloning and expression analysis, translation inhibition, developmental analysis using microscopy and gene arrays, high-resolution imaging, and automated behavioural techniques. Recent addition of aquarium space allows genetic studies and maintenance of mutant fish strains.

Personnel

Director: Pertti Panula (pertti.panula-at-helsinki.fi)
Post-doctoral fellows: Yu-Chia Chen, PhD
Graduate students: Svetlana Semenova, MSc; Maria Sundvik, MSc
Technicians: Henri Koivula, BSc

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Useful links

The Zebrafish Model Organism Database
Sanger Center Zebrafish Genome
Institute of Biomedicine