The Aquatic Models of Human Development Group uses zebrafish as a model vertebrate organism to study human development. We exploit the advantages of the zebrafish model for genetic screens, genomic manipulation, microscopic imaging, and cell and behavioral biology to gain insights into mechanisms controlling human development and defects therein that can result in disease. By maintaining a high level of expertise and resources, the group lowers the barrier to entry for other researchers in the intramural program for use of zebrafish as a research tool for investigating biological processes in vivo. The five PIs and the Zebrafish Core Facility, along with approximately 30 postdocs, doctoral trainees and technical staff, all focusing on zebrafish as a model system and all working in the Building 6 complex, create a critical mass of talent unsurpassed at NIH.
The group specializes in the generation of induced and engineered mutations and transgenic zebrafish lines that are used to study in vivo the function and integration of regulatory factors and pathways that are critical to the development, health, and survival of vertebrates, including humans. Extensive formal collaborations and informal interactions between group members promote the exchange of reagents and technical information to ensure that NICHD researchers remain at the cutting edge of zebrafish research worldwide.