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Published: 03 June 2024

St George’s, University of London is delighted to announce the opening of a new purpose-built Zebrafish Unit, providing housing and care for zebrafish used at the University for biomedical research and teaching.

With 70% genetic similarity to humans, as well as sharing 84% of human disease genes, the zebrafish is the second most common animal model for human disease research and offers a powerful tool to unlock new treatments.

Research applications

The Zebrafish Unit will accelerate research across a broad spectrum of areas, with both Biomedical Science and Clinical Pharmacology students set to use zebrafish for practical sessions and research projects.

Zebrafish have transparent embryos, making it easier for imaging and genetic manipulation. This will facilitate advances in areas such as drug discovery, tumour formation and progression, embryonic development, modelling human disease, and more. Researchers will not only be able to understand fundamental processes of disease, but also directly test potential therapies.

Studying zebrafish will ultimately contribute to broader biological knowledge and lead to prospective unforeseen breakthroughs in public health.

Ensuring welfare

The welfare and biosecurity of the fish is of paramount importance to the new Unit. As such, a specialised team of Animal Technicians will ensure the highest standard of care for the zebrafish, supporting researchers in the process.

The fish undergo daily health checks, while staff are present 365 days a year for essential maintenance and husbandry. This includes managing the water quality, feeding of dry and live diets, and environmental monitoring, as well as cleaning and maintenance of the room, tank and equipment.

Zebrafish eggs are fertilised outside of the mother’s body and the embryos develop externally. Therefore, the research undertaken on zebrafish embryos is also less invasive than the use of a mammal embryo.

Launching the new Zebrafish Unit is a huge accomplishment for our team of dedicated Animal Technicians and a tremendous leap forward in our research and teaching capabilities. We're all incredibly excited to provide support and services to researchers and educators from both Universities, and accelerate scientific discovery while advancing animal care and welfare, ultimately leading to breakthroughs that improve public health and health education.

- Dimitra Mantzorou, Head of Zebrafish Unit -

Find out more about the St George’s Zebrafish Unit.

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