Analysis of the genetic basis of neurodegenertative disorders in the vertebrate model organism zebrafish


The zebrafish as a vertebrate developmental genetics model organism shall be used to ascertain the effects of human mutations implicated in neurodegenerative disease. With the aim to understand the effects of dosage, regulation, and expression of human genes with pathogenic mutations, transgenic zebrafish lines shall be generated and genetically manipulated in the developing and adult zebrafish brain.


Professor Thomas Becker , Dr Silke Rinkwitz

Research Location

Camperdown - Brain and Mind Centre

Program Type



Understanding the function and regulation of genes identified as causative in a given disease is particularly important with respect to neurodegenerative disorders, which constitute a growing burden for our rapidly aging population. Understanding the pathways and mechanisms that lead to these disorders is an important step towards developing therapeutic and preventive strategies. To understand how the pathological changes come about as a result of gene mutations, there is a need for animal models that allow efficient and rapid testing of human genes in an accessible vertebrate nervous system. The zebrafish has been developed into a high throughput model organism for mutagenesis, transgenesis, and gene expression, and offers the crucial advantage that nervous system development can be observed in real time, due to the external fertilization, rapid development, and optical clarity of its embryos and larvae. We have developed methodologies for large-scale transgenesis and computational and functional genomics in the zebrafish and have recently demonstrated that human regulatory sequences can be tested in transgenic zebrafish. These technologies, together with the recent establishment of efficient strategies for misexpression of genes within the zebrafish brain allow for studies that aid in the understanding of how specific mutations result in the development of neurodegenerative disease.

Additional Information

We recently moved our lab and zebrafish facility from Europe to Sydney and offer an inspiring international scientific environment, a generous work place and state of the art techniques and equipment related to zebrafish developmental genetics.

Want to find out more?

Contact us to find out what’s involved in applying for a PhD. Domestic students and International students

Contact Research Expert to find out more about participating in this opportunity.

Browse for other opportunities within the Camperdown - Brain and Mind Centre .


Neurodegeneration, Frontotemporal dementia, FTD, brain, neuronal circuits, neuronal subpopulation, Development, Genetics, gene regulation, mutation, zebrafish, transgenesis.

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 991

Other opportunities with Professor Thomas Becker

Other opportunities with Dr Silke Rinkwitz