The Duke University School of Medicine Zebrafish Core Facilities (Z-Core) is a shared resource that offers aquaculture services to a diverse group of biomedical researchers using zebrafish as a model organism. Zebrafish have several advantages over other model organisms that include optically transparent embryos, ease of genetic manipulation, sequenced genome, rapid external development, high fecundity, extensive regenerative capabilities, and straightforward husbandry requirements. These advantages provide research opportunities to explore primitive and simplified molecular mechanisms to elevate our understanding of human development and diseases.
The Z-Core has a capacity for over 9,000 fish tanks with a full-time dedicated staff to care for several hundred thousand fish. The staff feeds approximately 29 million brine shrimp daily and over 800 pounds of fish food annually. That’s a lot for a 1.5-inch fish! The facilities utilize large recirculating aquaculture systems equipped with some of the most advanced equipment available to house the fish and ensure optimal health.
The Z-Core is comprised of three facilities, with a fourth currently under construction. Each facility has dedicated procedure rooms equipped with various microscope setups, incubators, microinjectors, and a capillary puller. The Z-core facilities all share an isolated quarantine room for imported and sick fish.
This shared resource is available to all Duke researchers and currently services five research labs from multiple departments. Under the direction of facility manager, Jim Burris, the Z-Core maintains full accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC).
If you are interested in learning more about this shared resource please email Jim Burris.