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The VI Zebrafish Symposium as Animal Model for Research took place at the Medical School of the Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP), from the 26th to the 28th of September. The event was organized by the Endocrinology and Metabolism Discipline and by the Central Vivarium of FMUSP.

The lecturer Michael Kent, a researcher and professor at the University of Oregon (United States), who works with Zebrafish for over 20 years, has said: “today, the model is accepted and is the second most used animal in research in the world”. Kent affirms this fish presents 70% of its genes similar to humans, and this similarity is intensified in a molecular level. The professor talked about his experience in the event: “I was surprised when I realized many Brazilians are engaged in studies with the zebrafish in the laboratories”.

The proposition of the symposium was to exchange experiences and knowledge on the aspects of utilizing the zebrafish in the scientific area. Researchers, health professionals and students took part in the event. Besides the lectures at the FMUSP Theater, this edition held the practical course “Hands On Workshop on Advancing Zebrafish Health”, and the best works were exposed in posters at the Hall of the Main Building of the institution.

The scientist Rita Fior, of the Champalimaud Foundation (Portugal), is the leader of a research which investigates how the zebrafish can help doctors define the best course of treatment for oncological patients. She says the choosing of the fish was due to the fast response of the animal, if compared to other living models. “We are still in the research phase, but the expectation is to reach definitions which can help doctors choose the best treatment therapy for that particular patient”.

Another special guest, Jean-Philippe Mocho, a veterinarian surgeon of the Francis Crick Institute (England) and member of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Association (FELASA), has said the use of the zebrafish models are similar, even though the laboratory facilities in Brazil are small, if compared to those in the United States and Europe. He highlighted “there are good initiatives of innovation by Brazilians and an opening for cooperation”.

Michael Kent
Rita Fior