zebrafish used to study human diseases

University contribute Millions for research programm with Zebrafish to study Human Diseases.

­The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) recently announced that it would be contributing $1.8 million in funding to be used for nine various scientific research projects taking place in various locations all around Canada. One of these particular research projects, held by the Faculty of Medicine, is studying the genetic foundations of diseases by using zebrafish as their experimental subject models.

Lee Richardson, a Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, announced the decision, stating that the Canadian government is investing money in both science and technology in order to create jobs and improve the quality of life for Canadians as well as strengthen the economy. Such an investment would ensure that Canada could attract and retain leaders in the fields of science and research.

Scientists at the Faculty of Medicine have discovered that the zebrafish is quite useful when studying the field of genetics. This fish is currently being used to help scientist discover more about the hypothalamic region of the human brain, specifically how neurons develop, function, and organize in the brain.

Deborah Kurrasch, PhD, works as an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and is also a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health. As the project’s leader, she is working alongside co-applicant Sarah Childs, PhD. Kurrasch says that using the zebrafish to identify genetic behaviours can help to shine light on human diseases and conditions. Among such illnesses are appetite disorders and sleep disruptions, as well as pituitary diseases, such as hyperthyroidism.

Zebrafish are ideal subjects when studying the genetic foundations of human illnesses because specific genetic screenings can be conducted that uncover various mutations that otherwise might go unnoticed. The classification system is based on phenotype. This allows scientists to identify and characterize biological genes in completely new ways than has ever been done in the past.

Edward McCauley, Vice President of Research at the University of Calgary, emphasizes how proud the university is of this innovative, first-class research that is taking place there. He is thankful for the continued support and partnership of CFI.

A stunning total of $53.5 million is being used to support 207 projects at 42 different institutions all over Canada through the CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund. This programs focuses on attracting and retaining top researchers to further scientific study in Canada.

Gilles G. Patry, President and CEO of CFI, states that the investments and support of CFI provide an essential infrastructure in communities all around Canada by creating opportunities to enhance the work and study being done by these dedicated scientists and researchers. Patry goes on to say that it is the cutting-edge research facilities that draw such upstanding talent from across the globe, enabling them to train up a whole new generation of researchers and innovators from within Canada’s own borders.­

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