Chinese Zebrafish Principal Investigator Meeting

A report on the Fifth Chinese Zebrafish Principal Investigator Meeting, November 13-15, 2020, Wuhan, China.

The China Zebrafish Society (CZFS), a branch of the China Zoological Society, sponsors and holds the Chinese Zebrafish Principal Investigator (PI) Meeting (CZPM) biennially. The Fifth Chinese Zebrafish PI Conference was successfully held in Hongshan Hotel, Wuhan, November 13-15, 2020. 2020 is destined to be an extraordinary year in Wuhan, the first epicenter of COVID-19 in China. Just not long ago, the city has defeated the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed as normal. With the mild winter weather, a record-high 300 in-person attendees with approximately 260 zebrafish PIs from China and abroad gathered for the two-day conference devoted to zebrafish studies in Wuhan.

The meeting was organized by Dr. Yonghua Sun, Director of the China Zebrafish Resource Center (CZRC) and an Investigator of the Institute of Hydrobiology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. CZRC is the core branch of the China Germplasm Resource Bank for Aquatic Organisms and has become one of the three largest zebrafish resource centers around the world.

During the two-day conference, more than 60 researchers gave talks on their latest zebrafish studies. Mary Mullins of the University of Pennsylvania, former President of the International Zebrafish Society (IZFS), delivered a virtual plenary lecture on BMP morphogen gradient formation and interpretation as the pandemic prevented her from coming to Wuhan to attend the meeting in person. Feng Liu of the Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences talked about the key signal transduction pathways, gene regulatory network and epigenetic modifications of blood stem cell emergence and maintenance. Xufei Du of the Jiulin Du group at the Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligent Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, introduced their new efforts on mapping the connectome and projectome of the 6-dpf zebrafish brain. Jinrong Peng of Zhejiang University reported that nucleolus factors Def, Bms1 and Ttf1 contribute to development via regulating cell division cycle. Lingfei Luo of Southwest University showed that cerebrovascular injuries induce rapid ingrowth of meningeal lymphatics into the injured parenchyma and the ingrown lymphatics can serve as vascular "growing tracks" during regeneration. Qiang Wang of the Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences talked about the roles of a lncRNA and its encoded micropeptide in early development. There were concurrent oral sessions focusing on maternal factors and early development, the development and function of blood cells, physiology, metabolism and disease of fish, tumor and other disease models, pharmacology and toxicology, nervous and stem cells, cardiovascular development and disease, cilia and gametogenesis. Many participants reported their latest unpublished results.

During the closing ceremony, the winners of the "Zeiss-Zebrafish Scientific Research Award" were announced, and Anming Meng of Tsinghua University presented awards to the 2020 Zeiss-Zebrafish Award winners: Ruilin Zhang of Wuhan University won the Outstanding Young Scholar Award and Yifang Yan of the Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences won the Outstanding Postdoctoral Award, and 15 students from numerous universities and institutions across the country won the Outstanding Graduate Awards and the Talent Trainee Awards. All winners received a certificate with a cash prize.

The meeting was historic with the record-high participants, and ought to be the largest in-person zebrafish conference this year around the world despite the fact that Wuhan was the hardest hit by COVID-19 early 2020.

Han Wang

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