Project Overview

Examining signaling between zebrafish sensory stem and progenitor cells

Faculty Sponsor

Jason Meyers (




Zebrafish have become a popular model for studying regeneration, as they initiate a rapid and robust response that can repair damage to their fins, heart, and even their nervous system.  In mammals, damage to the retina or inner ear leads to permanent sensory deficit, but zebrafish can mobilize discrete populations of stem cells to readily replace missing sensory cells and neurons within a few days, restoring function to the system.  Although the identity of the stem/progenitor cells is reasonably well worked out, how these cells communicate with each other and surrounding cells in order to initiate the regenerative response, produce the specific cells that have been damaged, and then stop dividing once the proper number of cells has been produced is not understood.  This project will be exploring several candidiate signaling pathways to better understand the mechanisms that underlie sensory regeneration in zebrafish.  Research will utilize transgenic zebrafish lines and pharmacological manipulation to manipulate and track the progenitor cells and their progeny.  Students will learn zebrafish husbandry and several advanced microscopy techniques including time-lapse and confocal microscopy.

Student Qualifications

Completion of Neur 170 or Biol 182.  Upper level electives in Biology or Neuroscience are helpful but not required.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2020 and close on 03/11/2020

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (