Imaging the Beating Heart in Zebrafish

2018 has been a busy year so far (and I expect it will stay that way) but I’ve finally made time to write another blog post (and also to move my blog into my personal website). Given that so far this year I’ve spoken about my current research – imaging the beating zebrafish heart – to audiences of academics, the public & students I thought it was about time to do a blog post summarising said research. Hopefully this short post will provide you with an idea of what we’re trying to achieve, why and how we’re going about it (although I’ve kept off too much detail for now).

The Challenge of a Beating Heart

Here at the University of Glasgow I am working with Dr Jonathan Taylor on techniques for imaging the living, beating heart in zebrafish. This work is part of a British Heart Foundation funded collaboration between us and a team of biologists at the University of Edinburgh. Our collaborators are interested in quantifying how the heart responds to injury, which in turn can be used to develop drugs that improve the natural injury response. Eventually, the fundamental research being carried out in the zebrafish can be translated to other model organisms and may, after much validation, be trialled in humans. At a conference I attended earlier in the year, one speaker gave the (uncited) statistic that 22 out of 24 drugs developed in the zebrafish have been successfully translated to humans despite the differences between a fish heart and a human heart.

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The Future of UK Life Sciences – The Importance of Bioimaging

Last month the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, which scrutinises Government policy relating to science and technology, announced an inquiry into the future of UK life sciences [1]. This is off the back of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper [2] and aims to investigate, amongst other things, whether or not the Government has the infrastructure to support an innovative life sciences sector in the UK.

As somebody with a passion for bioimaging I thought I might stress the importance of bioimaging and similar supporting technologies. Without technologies such as bioimaging and next generation sequencing, the UK biosciences and bioeconomy would not be the innovative and world-class scene that it is. So, here it is, my two pence worth.

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