Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

FishForPharma: Training network on zebrafish infection models for pharmaceutical screens

How can zebrafish models be used to gain a better understanding of host-pathogen interaction mechanisms and to screen new drugs for infectious disease treatment?

2012 - 2016
Annemarie Meijer
7th Framework People Programme of the European Commission 7th Framework People Programme of the European Commission

Dr. Georges Lutfalla

Prof. dr. Geert Wiegertjes & Dr. Maria Forlenza, Wageningen University

Dr. Pierre Boudinot, INRA

Dr. Jean-Pierre Levraud, Insitut Pasteur

Prof. dr. Antonio Figueras & Prof Dr. Beatriz Novoa, CSIC

Prof. dr. Victoriano Mulero, University of Murcia

Prof. dr. Steve Renshaw & Prof. dr. Simon Foster, University of Sheffield

Prof. dr. Maria Leptin, EMBL

Dr. Annette Vergunst, INSERM

Dr. Ron Dirks, ZFscreens BV

Dr. Lluis Ballell-Pages, GlaxoSmithKline

FishForPharma is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network using zebrafish as a model for human infectious disease research and drug discovery.

Infectious diseases caused by pathogenic micro-organisms are major causes of death, disability, and social and economic disruption for millions of people. During evolution these pathogens have developed intricate strategies to manipulate host defence mechanisms and outwit the immune system. To reduce the burden of infectious diseases it is important to increase understanding of these host-pathogen interaction mechanisms and to develop more effective strategies for drug discovery. The fact that zebrafish produce large amounts of embryos, which develop externally and are optically transparent, gives unprecedented possibilities for live imaging of disease processes and is the basis of novel high-throughput drug screening approaches. FishForPharma brings together leading European research groups that have pioneered the use of zebrafish infection models and partners from the Biotech and Pharma sectors that aim to commercialise zebrafish tools for biomedical applications. The main objectives of FishForPharma are: i) To exploit zebrafish as a high-throughput model for human infectious disease research and drug development programmes; and ii)  To train a new generation of young researchers with multi-disciplinary skills to introduce zebrafish models into biomedical science and pre-clinical drug screening.

  • Torraca V, Cui C, Boland R, Bebelman JP, van der Sar AM, Smit MJ, Siderius M, Spaink HP, Meijer AH (2015) The CXCR3/CXCL11 signaling axis mediates macrophage recruitment and dissemination of mycobacterial infection. Dis Model Mech. 8:253-69
  • Torraca V, Masud S, Spaink HP, Meijer AH (2014) Macrophage-pathogen interactions in infectious diseases: new therapeutic insights from the zebrafish host model. Dis Mod Mech 7:785-797
  • Rougeot J, Zakrzewska A, Kanwal Z, Jansen HJ, Spaink HP, Meijer AH (2014) RNA sequencing of FACS-sorted immune cell populations from zebrafish infection models to identify cell specific responses to intracellular pathogens. Methods in Molecular Biology 1197:261-74
  • Ordas A, Raterink RJ, Jansen HJ, Cunningham F, Wiweger MI, Jong-Raadsen S, Bates RH, Barros D, Meijer AH, Vreeken RJ, Ballell-Pages L, Dirks RP, Hankemeier T, Spaink HP. (2014) Testing tuberculosis drug efficacy in a zebrafish high-throughput translational medicine screen. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 59: 753-62
  • Veneman WJ, MarĂ­n-Juez R, de Sonneville J, Ordas A, Jong-Raadsen S, Meijer AH, Spaink HP (2014) Establishment and optimization of a high throughput setup to study Staphylococcus epidermis and Mycobacterium marinum infection as a model for drug discovery. J. Vis Exp 88, e51649

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