Member News

Zebrafish Development and Genetics Summer Course – Deadline Fast Approaching!

The deadline to apply for the Marine Biological Laboratory “Zebrafish Development and Genetics” summer course (August 4-19, 2017) is MONDAY, MAY 1st.

This intensive two-week course caters to advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and independent investigators who are incorporating the zebrafish model into their research and/or teaching. Applications from underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged.

The course covers time-proven and emerging technologies geared towards application in zebrafish. Mornings and afternoons are devoted mainly to laboratory experiments and evenings to lectures and discussions. The course is taught and guided by around 20 international leaders in the field and student enrollment is limited to 22 students. This year, the course will conclude with a special day-long symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the course.

More information and application instructions are available on the following webpage:

http://www.mbl.edu/education/special-topics-courses/zebrafish-development-and-genetics/

Scholarships and financial assistance are available.

Deadline for application: 1 May 2017

 

PRESS RELEASE: Swiss Bridge Award goes to ZDMS Members Dr. Alexa Burger and Prof. Christian Mosimann with 250,000 Swiss Franks

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

One million Swiss francs for four research projects on rare cancers

 

Thun, 26.10. 2016 – This year’s Swiss Bridge Award goes to two researchers from Belgium and two researchers from Switzerland. Jan Cools, Pieter Van Vlierberghe, Christian Mosimann and Sara Meyer each receive 250 000 Swiss francs for the realization of their research projects.

 

The Swiss Bridge Foundation has doubled the award sum this year on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. This year, the award is dedicated to the study of rare cancers. These diseases affect less than six out of 100 000 people – and not only are they insufficiently researched, but they are often also difficult to treat.

An overall total of 226 researchers applied for the Swiss Bridge Award with their own project proposals. A thirteen-member jury consisting of renowned experts implemented a two-step evaluation procedure. Their final decision was made to distinguish two research projects from Belgium, as well as two projects from Switzerland; with 250 000 Swiss francs awarded to each project. The awards ceremony shall take place today in the Schadau Castle, Thun.

 

Analysis of Disease-relevant Processes

 Both projects from Belgium are focussing on acute lymphoblastic leukaemia from T- cells, the so-called T-ALL, a rare form of leukaemia. There has been significant progress made in T-ALL treatment over the last 50 years. Today approximately eight out of ten people, most of whom are young patients, can be successfully treated.

However, still twenty percent of leukaemia cases in children, as well as many older patients have bleak prospects. Jan Cools and his research team at the University of Leuven aim to identify new treatment approaches through an in-depth analysis of the various disease-relevant processes within degenerated T-cells.

The team led by Pieter Van Vlierberghe at Ghent University is interested first and foremost in epigenetic processes that play a role in the formation and development of blood cancer cells. These researchers have recently shown that the survival of leukemic cells can be prevented by targeting a protein known as LSD1 with an active substance. This protein affects the packaging density of the genetic material in the cell nucleus, and thus, which genes are transcribed. With his new project, Van Vlierberghe builds upon previous results and explores the therapeutic potential of LSD1 inhibitors.

 

 

Similarities between Human Beings and Zebra Fish

 In Switzerland, the project from Christian Mosimann and his group at the University of Zurich has raced to the top. This team of researchers examines the molecular formation mechanisms of chordomas. These are rare and slow-growing tumours which develop from the vestiges of the so-called notochord – the embryonic predecessor of the spinal column. Mosimann’s team has found that the chordomas of zebra fish are quite similar to those of human beings in many aspects – and they would now like to use this animal model in a new project to decode the disease incidence and to identify possible therapeutic targets.

Last but not least, the project from Sara Meyer and her team at the University Hospital Basel is also among the winners of the Swiss Bridge Award. These researchers are tracking the processes to distinguish myeloproliferative neoplasms. These are rare, chronic diseases of the haematopoietic system which can degenerate into acute myeloid leukaemia. Meyer and her group have identified in previous work that the diseased cells exhibit redundant signalling pathways, which unfortunately lead to the often observed treatment failures. In their project, the researchers examine whether a treatment which simultaneously interrupts two complementary signalling pathways may be more effective.

 

The Swiss Bridge Foundation was founded 20 years ago upon the initiative of Mr. Thomas Hoepli, Swiss Bridge’s former Managing Director and current Foundation Board Member, with the support of the Swiss Cancer League. Its goal is to support qualitatively high grade research projects with the help of private donors and foundations in the fight against cancer. Since the Foundation’s inception, Swiss Bridge has received more than 30 Million Swiss francs in donations – so that research projects can be supported in Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

 

 For More Information, Please Contact:

 

Information about the Foundation:

Mr. Thomas Hoepli Director

SWISS BRIDGE Foundation Tel. +41 (0)43 317 13 60

info@swissbridge.ch www.swissbridge.ch

Information about Research Projects:

Dr. Rolf Marti

Head of Research, Innovation & Development Swiss Cancer League

Tel. +41 (0)31 389 91 45

rolf.marti@swisscancer.ch www.swisscancer.ch

 

 

Read more from the University of Zurich here: http://www.mnf.uzh.ch/en/news/Swiss-Bridge-Award.html

 

NYU Tandon Researchers Develop Robotic Platform for Behavior Research

NYU Tandon Researchers Develop Robotic Platform for Behavior Research

A team of researchers at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering have developed a robotic platform to assist in the study of freshwater fish behavior.

The researchers tested the robotic platform with zebrafish, a “highly versatile” freshwater fish that is “increasingly taking the place of more complex animals in behavioral studies,” according to a news release from the university. “Understanding their social behavior may help researchers explore mechanisms behind human disorders like anxiety, addiction, autism and schizophrenia.”

The researchers placed their robotic replica in a tank with live zebrafish and then measured the response of the zebrafish to the three-dimensional, moving replica, a two-dimensional moving replica, a static replica, a transparent replica and a static rod. The tests revealed that the zebrafish were attracted to the robotic replica that mimicked both the appearance and motion of a live zebrafish, and they lost that attraction when either of those characteristics differed.

In addition to making a discovery about the social behavior of zebrafish, the study “also significantly refined the robotic platform that enables consistent, repeatable tests with our live subjects,” said Maurizio Porfiri, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU Tandon and team lead on the research project.

Other members of the team that developed and tested the robotic platform include Tommaso Ruberto and Daniele Neri, researchers at NYU Tandon; Violet Mwaffo, a doctoral student; and Sukhgewanpreet Singh, an undergraduate student at the university.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Mitsui USA Foundation.

The researchers published their findings in a paper, “Zebrafish Response to a Robotic Replica in Three Dimensions,” in Royal Society Open Science.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

2016 Zebrafish Development & Genetics Course

Applications are now being accepted for the “Zebrafish Development and Genetics” course, held at the Marine Biology Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), August 7-21, 2016. This intensive two-week course caters to advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and independent investigators who are incorporating the zebrafish model into their research and/or teaching. Applications from underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged.

The course covers time-proven and emerging technologies geared towards application in zebrafish. It provides a world-class experience to a small group of students taught and guided by around 20 international leaders in the field. Mornings and afternoons are devoted mainly to laboratory experiments and evenings to lectures and discussions.  Applications are reviewed by a scientific committee in late April and successful applicants are notified in early May. More information and application instructions are available on the following webpage:

http://www.mbl.edu/education/special-topics-courses/zebrafish-development-and-genetics/

Deadline for application: 15 April 2016

ZDMS Flyer

Seeing Cancer From The Beginning Using Zebrafish

Recent work from Chuck Kaufman in Leonard Zon’s lab has been featured on the front page of the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/health/how-skin-cancer-develops-melanoma-zebra-fish.html?_r=1

They used the zebrafish melanoma model to show, for the first time, how cancer initiates from the starting cell. This work has broad implications in the cancer field, because it begins to shed light on why some cells in a “cancerized field” take off, while other cells never form tumors.

Check out our video!

Other Releases:

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/01/a-cancers-surprise-origins-caught-in-action/

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2016/01/28/origins-cancer-study/​ ​

http://vector.childrenshospital.org/2016/01/the-cell-that-caused-melanoma-cancers-surprise-origins-caught-in-action/

Meeting Report: Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress

Meeting Report: Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress

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November 18-21, 2015

Ana Neto, Postdoctoral Fellow, Ceol Laboratory, UMass Medical School, USA

I had the opportunity to attend the Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress in San Francisco, CA (18th-21st of November). Several aspects of melanoma research were covered: genetics, genomics, immunotherapy, models of melanoma, targeted therapy, and resistance to targeted therapy, between others. The goal of the Society and the meeting is to promote the unification of the field by improving the communication between different areas of melanoma research. Approximately 1200 delegates with different backgrounds basic, translational and clinical research attended this meeting. Several companies that supported the meeting were represented in exhibitors (Novartis Oncology, Amgen, Genentech, Brystol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Castle Biosciences Incorporated).

This meeting had oral communications from great speakers. A. Hunter Shain gave an insightful talk about the genetic evolution of melanoma from precursor lesions. Sean Morrison shared his new results about how oxidative stress restricts metastasis spreading to distant locations. Marcus Bosenberg showed how melanoma genotype defines melanoma phenotype using mice as model system. In Ashani Weeraratna’s talk we could learn that aging could affect the signaling of melanoma cells. These were only a few examples of the talks that the attendees from this meeting could enjoy. Liz Patton and Jacqueline Lees were amazing ambassadors of the melanoma research using zebrafish as model system. They delivered great talks where they refer the potential of the zebrafish for melanoma modeling and chemical screening. Indeed, Lees’ laboratory just developed a model of uveal melanoma that recapitulates the human disease, where new drug therapies could be screened. The participants from zebrafish laboratories were only a few: Milena Zimmer (Richard White’s laboratory), Mitch Levesque and students, Penny Lovat and myself (from Craig Ceol’s laboratory) (I hope I didn’t miss anyone). It would be good to increase the participation of zebrafish researchers to this type of meetings to enhance the impact and visibility of zebrafish as a disease model, so we improve funding in our research.

The congress has several moments for social interaction, breakfast, lunch and dinner for the SMR awards ceremony. The work of James P. Alison, Suzanne Topalian, Daniel Peeper and Georgina Long was recognized and it was also a moment of mixing between all investigators.

It was an enthusiastic meeting and the next year’s venue will be in Boston, a meeting organized by Keith Flaherty.

DMM Travel Grants

dmm

DMM Travel Grants Available

Are you an early career scientist who is interested in attending a meeting or course relevant to the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms during 2015?

The Company of Biologists Grants Committee has allocated DMM with £10,000 to provide travel funds to conferences or courses for individuals working in the field of DMM. DMM applications are currently limited to travel that will be completed by the end of 2015.

Please visit the DMM website for further details on how to apply: DMM Travel Grants