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Zebrafish in Neuroscience Research

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ECTS and Course type

ECTS: 1.0

Course type:Lecture/seminar

Target audience

MSc and PhD students

Date and time

1, 8, 15, 22, 29 March, 17:30 – 19:00


Virtual (Zoom)

Learning outcome

The translucent zebrafish larva is a great vertebrate model organism for neuroscience investigations, owning to the possibility to easily image and manipulate activity of genetically identified neurons while the animal performs stereotyped and well documented behaviors. Anatomical and functional homologies with mammalian nervous systems make the zebrafish brain also an attractive model for translational research. In this elective course you will be introduced to the marvels of the zebrafish brain, and to the molecular and microscopy techniques to investigate its development, function, and disfunction.

Familiarity with basics of zebrafish neuroanatomy, and molecular and microscopy tools for studying brain function and behavior in zebrafish.
Appreciation of advantages and disadvantages of using zebrafish as a model for studying psychiatric and neurological diseases.



The course will consist of five sessions lasting 1.5 hours each. During each session, there will be a lecture introducing basic concepts in zebrafish neuroscience research. Part of each session (20 -30 minutes) will be used for discussing assigned reading material.

The topics of the five lectures are:

  1. A journey from Indian rivers to the lab: a brief history of zebrafish in biomedical research. Architecture of a small brain: an introduction to zebrafish neuroanatomy.
  2. Of fluorescent proteins and genetic scissors: molecular tools for zebrafish neuroscience.
  3. Of flipping tails and moving eyes: Behavioral repertoire of a little fish. There is strength in numbers: behavioral screens.
  4. Seeing circuits in action: linking neuronal circuits to behavior.
  5. Zebrafish models of psychiatric and neurological disease


There will be no exam. However, students are expected to read one to two reviews or original research articles assigned every week.


Mandatory: 1-2 reviews or original research articles will be assigned at the end of each lecture.

Further: none