Leiden: The scene of the Zebrafish Disease Models conference 2018
In July, 2018, the Institute of Biology Leiden hosted the 11th conference of the Zebrafish Disease Models Society (ZDMS), an international association dedicated to the advancement of basic and clinical research using zebrafish disease models. More than 350 researchers from all over the world gathered together in Leiden, to foster international relationships and diverse interactions in the zebrafish academic, clinical and industrial research communities. Speakers showcased the best work in research on cancer, infectious diseases, inflammation, neurological disorders, cardiac and skeletal muscle disease, metabolic diseases, and diseases of the blood, vasculature and digestive organs.
The ZDMS conference was held over four days at the Gorlaeus Laboratories of the Faculty of Science, with one special afternoon session in the historical Pieterskerk in the Leiden city center. The invited speakers of the conference included eighteen leaders in the field of zebrafish disease modelling and a number of other excellent speakers were selected from abstracts. Christine Mummery, Professor of Developmental Biology and Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Embryology at the Leiden University Medical Center, and Alexander van Oudenaarden, Director of the Hubrecht Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Quantitative Biology of Gene Regulation at the University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University, were the keynote speakers.
Mummery discussed the current state-of-the-art of stem cells with a focus on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and cardiovascular disease in the exhilarating ambiance of the Pieterskerk, where this special session was located. Van Oudenaarden discussed in his keynote address new developments in single cell sequencing technologies which facilitates identification of cell types, based on the repertoire of genes that are being expressed in these cells.
The Institute of Biology Leiden and zebrafish research
The Institute of Biology (IBL) has had an active zebrafish community for over two decades with strong ties to the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht and practically all universities in the Netherlands.
Researchers of the IBL use the zebrafish to study the mechanisms underlying infectious diseases (especially tuberculosis), inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The zebrafish models for these diseases are also usedto screen natural and synthetic chemical compounds for their pharmaceutical value. Furthermore, IBL researchers investigate individual stress coping styles, aiming not only at future applications in personalised medicine, but also at a better understanding of the impact of noise on fish stock in the wild or in aquaculture.
In 2019 the Zebrafish Disease Models Society conference will be held in Boston.