Infectious diseases caused by pathogenic micro-organisms are major causes of death, disability, and social and economic disruption for millions of people. During evolution these pathogens have developed intricate strategies to manipulate host defence mechanisms and outwit the immune system. To reduce the burden of infectious diseases it is important to increase understanding of these host-pathogen interaction mechanisms and to develop more effective strategies for drug discovery. The zebrafish holds much promise as a high-throughput drug screening model. In the last few years, zebrafish models for studying human pathogens or closely related animal pathogens have emerged at a rapid pace. The fact that zebrafish produce large amounts of embryos, which develop externally and are optically transparent, gives unprecedented possibilities for live imaging of disease processes and is the basis of novel high-thoughput drug screening approaches. In recent years good models have been developed for toxicity, safety and efficacy of drug screening in zebrafish embryos. However, the major bottleneck for development of high-throughput antimicrobial drug screens has been that infection models rely on manual injection and handling of zebrafish embryos. This limiting factor has been overcome by a unique automated injection system that will be applied in this project. The FishForPharma training network brings together leading European research groups that have pioneered the use of zebrafish infection models and partners from the Biotech and Pharma sectors that aim to commercialise zebrafish tools for biomedical applications. FishForPharma aims to deliver the proof-of-principle for drug discovery using zebrafish infectious disease models and to increase understanding of host-pathogen interaction mechanisms to identify new drug targets for infectious disease treatment. Most importantly, we aim to equip a cohort of young researchers with the knowledge and skills to achieve these goals.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/12 → 31/12/15|