Project ”Fishing for Medicines and their targets using Zebrafish models of human diseases”

IIMCB’s strategic objective is to reach the quality of research and innovative activities of leading research entities in the world. To achieve this level of excellence and increase our innovative potential, we have begun to create a facility to grow and breed lines of zebrafish (Danio rerio). This fish is an excellent organism to study various aspects of disease because it is fully transparent until adulthood. Therefore, development, pathologies, and treatment effects can be easily monitored in vivo. Moreover, potential drugs can be added to water to easily test their effects on behaviour, anatomy, development, and signalling in high-throughput screens. Using zebrafish models of human diseases, we will not only explore signalling pathways and mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels but will also study them at the level of live vertebrate organisms, the metabolism of which is very similar to that of mammals. To accomplish this, we intend to create the FishMed research centre.

Through FishMed project, we will have higher innovation potential, measured by medically relevant discoveries, patent applications, and license agreements. We will also be able to publish in journals in the top 10% on the Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge list. A possibility to work on an animal model such as zebrafish will make IIMCB more attractive to new group leaders with excellent research achievements and programs. This will increase the critical mass of young independent investigators and experienced researchers at the IIMCB. All of these factors will allow us to achieve the long-term goal of becoming comparable to leading research entities in the EU according to the best European Research Area standards.

The FishMed Centre, created thanks to the REGPOT programme, is the first such initiative in Poland. It is be composed of a Zebrafish Core Facility and groups working on innovative research projects implemented in IIMCB laboratories, including a new laboratory to be established in 2013. All of the groups involved in FishMed project explore innovative aspects of their present projects in the molecular mechanisms of disease. This is possible because of the availability of fish models and twinning with several superb scientific institutions with expertise in zebrafish research. The research projects focus on the topics of the FP7 Health theme, including cancer, neuropathology, ageing, epigenetics, and the role of mitochondria in disease and tissue regeneration.

FishMed project has five objectives that are achievable within the duration of the project and can be easily documented and verified. Their realisation will allow us to enhance and fully explore the innovative potential of IIMCB and become an equal partner with leading research entities in the EU.

  • Twinning of seven IIMCB groups with excellent European zebrafish centres to develop innovative potential using fish models.
  • Development of a Zebrafish Core Facility and organisation of a new research group headed by a leader selected through an ¬†open international competition.
  • Acquisition and upgrading of research equipment for a Zebrafish Core Facility and new zebrafish research laboratory.
  • Reinforcement of IIMCB innovation potential with the Bio&Technology Innovations Platform (BioTech-IP).
  • Creation of an interactive visibility platform to popularise the FishMed Centre and research with zebrafish models among scientific and non-scientific communities, including the promotion of the project’s innovative results.