University of Birmingham Zebrafish

By | 21st April 2017

University of Birmingham Zebrafish

University of Birmingham crest

Zebrafish: The Future of Drug Testing

By Sundeep Singh Dhillon.

The zebrafish is a tropical fish native to the Indian sub-continent. It came to prominence as an animal model for research during the first part of the 21st century and from then on its use has grown in popularity worldwide.”

Zebrafish embryos develop rapidly with most organs formed within five days. They are also transparent, allowing organs such as the heart to be easily observed. Despite the obvious physical differences to humans, zebrafish do share a large part of their genetic structure with us; which means they also show a lot of similarities in their toxic responses. For example, drugs known to affect the heart in humans also show a similar response in zebrafish.

Drug toxicities represent a huge burden, particularly to the pharmaceutical industry, and are the main reason why promising drugs do not make it to the market. I am also using zebrafish to uncover the underlying relationship between the chemical structure of a drug and its likelihood to produce a toxic effect; which could save time, money and potentially lives.”

Sundeep Singh Dhillon is a Research Fellow in the School of Medical and Dental Sciences.