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Christian Tudorache

Assistant professor

Dr. C. Tudorache
+31 71 527 4759

I am interested in coping with stress, on both the behavioral and the physiological level of biological function. I am predominantly working with zebrafish, but also other species in the field. My approach is multi-disciplinary and integrative, including molecular biology, morphology, biomechanics and toxicology.

More information about Christian Tudorache


My research focuses on physiological mechanisms and interactions underlying stress and behavioural responses to stressors. Since the study of stress is multi-disciplinary and integrative, my research combines physiology, behaviour, and molecular biology, but also includes morphology, biomechanics and toxicology.

Stress (eco)physiology and toxicology

During long-term swimming, fish are exposed to a variety of environmental stressors. In order to study the energetics of active swimming, I develop new, environmentally relevant approaches, combining classical and novel research methodologies such as respirometry, fitness tests, volitional swimming behaviour and kinematics. In this light, I use (neuro)behavioural and biomechanical methods to split aerobically and anaerobically powered swimming modes as affected by ammonia toxicity, and define chemical and biological, not only physical, obstructions for free migration in the filed.

Stress coping styles

Recently, variations in stress coping styles became a widespread research topic, relevant for a variety of fields. Although not always examined together, molecular biology, physiology and behaviour are almost always interwoven and interact with each other. The application of personalities in medical issues, including personalised medicine, susceptibility to and heritability of various diseases, is a promising new field of research. Zebrafish are an upcoming model in this new field of stress research.

I use swimming kinematics to detect and characterize the behavioural stress response during volitional activity in zebrafish larvae and a combination of molecular and behavioural techniques to elicit the temporal aspects of the physiological stress response in adult zebrafish. Classic and newly developed methods for my research on swimming physiology cover: respirometry, locomotion kinematics and behavioural methods. Answering questions related to epigenetic and adaptation mechanisms, this research branch finds applications in medical biology, animal welfare and environmental health issues, including personality disorders, toxicology and global change.

Key publications

Brun, N.R., van Hage, P., Hunting, E.R. ... Tudorache, C. Polystyrene nanoplastics disrupt glucose metabolism and cortisol levels with a possible link to behavioural changes in larval zebrafish. Commun Biol 2, 382 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-019-0629-6

Tudorache, C., Slabbekoorn, H., Robbers, Y. et al. Biological clock function is linked to proactive and reactive personality types. BMC Biol 16, 148 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-018-0618-0

Tudorache, C., Schaaf M., Slabbekoorn H. Covariation between behaviour and physiology indicators of coping style in zebrafish (Danio rerio). 2013 Oct 28;219(3):251–8.


My teaching is mainly focused on innovative methods such as adaptive learning, flipping the class room and problem-based learning. See the overview page for courses I am involved in.

Brief Biography

  • 2017 – present: Assistant professor
  • 2014- 2017: Postdoctoral fellow (IBL), Leiden University, The Netherlands. Collaborators: Dr. Marcel Schaaf, Dr. Hans Slabbekoorn
  • 2010-2014: Postdoctoral fellow (VENI), Leiden University, The Netherlands. Supervisors: Dr. Guido van den Thillart, Prof. Dr. Herman Spaink
  • 2009-2010: Consultant, Ecological Engineering Antea Group, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 
  • 2008-2009: Postdoctoral fellow (Hydro Manitoba), University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Tillmann Benfey
  • 2004-2008: PhD student, Antwerp University, Belgium. Promotor: Prof. Dr. Ronny Blust, Co-promotor: Prof. Dr. Gudrun de Boeck

Assistant professor

  • Science
  • Instituut Biologie Leiden
  • IBL Animal Sciences

Work address

Sylviusweg 72
2333 BE Leiden
Room number 7.4.14




  • No relevant ancillary activities
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