Project Overview

Modulating stem/progenitor cell behavior in zebrafish sensory systems

Faculty Sponsor

Jason Meyers (


Computer Science


Fish are capable of rather remarkable levels of regeneration, including regeneration of many different sensory cells that humans and other mammals cannot such as their photoreceptors and mechanosensory hair cells.  This project examines how the stem/progenitor cells that underlie this regeneration coordinate the appropriate balance of regeneration - producing the correct number of cells and of just the right types to replace damaged/lost cells.  Students will learn basic care of fish species, including breeding, and will learn how to use genetic and genetic tools to manipulate and monitor the cells within these sensory systems.  Most of the summer projects will involve learning advanced microscopy techniques to track cells during the regenerative response.  In addition, as the sensory cells help coordinate many different behaviors, we have been developing a new fish behavior monitoring and analysis system.  One aspect of this summer's work will be applying machine learning principles to improve the analysis software to better capture the fish's position and body movements under various stimuli.  

Student Qualifications

For biology/neuroscience projects:  Completion of Biol 182 OR Neur 170 is highly recommended.
For comp sci machine learning project:  Experience with coding in python required.  Familiarity with principles of machine learning/neural networks will aid in the project.

Number of Student Researchers

4 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (