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|Caren Norden 2018 Election Statement|
Dr., Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
My main contribution to the zebrafish community in my opinion is the promotion of zebrafish as a model organism. Here, I especially stress that it is an excellent model to investigate cell biological questions in vivo in a developing organism whenever I give a talk from research institutions to conferences attended by developmental biologists, cell biologists and often also physicists. Further, I emphasize that it is important for developmental biology to enter a quantitative age for which the zebrafish is a very suitable system.
On the practical side, I so far trained eight PhD students, five postdocs and numerous bachelor and master students to use zebrafish as a model system and answer questions in cell and developmental biology.
As a lab, we created multiple transgenic lines and mutants, mainly to track intracellular components that we openly share with the community and all our plasmids are deposited on addgene.
We developed and refined protocols for zebrafish light sheet imaging and contributed two reviews on these techniques to the community
(Icha, J., et al. : Using Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy to Image Zebrafish Eye Development J Vis Exp. 2016 Apr 10;(110), Icha, J., et al., Phototoxicity in live fluorescence microscopy, and how to avoid it Bioessays 2017 39)
I further organized sessions at two zebrafish meeting: the neuroscience session at the European Zebrafish meeting in Budapest and a workshop on morphogenesis at the European PI meeting in Trento.
I am an outspoken person who cares about the zebrafish community and promoting zebrafish as a model organism. Currently, developmental biology and model organism research faces interesting challenges. The emergence of new techniques in cell and developmental biology (for example 3D culture and organoids) and genomics (for example the ever improving CRIPSR techniques and single cell sequencing) are currently transforming the field. In my opinion, this makes model organism research more important than ever, which is a message that needs to be communicated within and outside the zebrafish field. In addition, interactions with other model organism communities and cross disciplinary advances will become more and more important. Here, I am well suited to initiate and continue communication as many of my good colleagues and friends in addition to the ones in the zebrafish field work in cell and developmental biology and in different systems at the crossroads to physics and computer science. The merging of these topics to get the best out of understanding development from cells to tissue needs to be continuously discussed in the zebrafish community. This shall help to continue and broaden the visibility of zebrafish as the model organism of the 21rst century for quantitative developmental biology, regenerative approaches and the best system to do live-imaging in vivo.
Thus, in the IZFS I would try to spearhead communication across communities, always having zebrafish as a the most suitable model for these approaches in mind. As I am by now quite established in the zebrafish community and beyond and respected in different fields, I believe that the community could profit from these interactions and exchange of ideas and new directions in developmental and cell biology.