Our research explained for non-specialists.

Skeletal diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis and bone tumours affect millions of people worldwide. Researchers hope to use regenerative medicine and stem cell-based therapies to repair the damage caused by these diseases in the future. Our research focuses on the genetic regulation of musculoskeletal development in zebrafish. We hope that by understanding how the skeleton is generated in zebrafish, we will provide information on how to cure skeletal diseases in human patients.

Picture of female (left) and male (right) zebrafish

Some zebrafish facts:

Zebrafish are tropical fish which are found in the Ganges river in India.  They grow to about 5 cm (2 inches) as adults and can live for 3-4 years. They are inexpensive to maintain in the laboratory, and each pair of fish can lay hundreds of eggs every week. As the eggs are small and transparent, scientists can easily watch how tissues develop in the embryo.

Although there are many obvious differences between fish and us (for example no lungs), we now know that most of the genes that are involved in human disease play similar functions in fish. These attributes have made zebrafish an important tool for biomedical research.

Tanks of zebrafish housed at Sheffield

A fish eye view

To read more about our research select one of the topics below:

Bone tumour formation...

Stem cell differentiation...

Fat development in fish...

To read more about zebrafish research in general try this site: FishForScience.


Roehl Lab