Biochem Blogs

Biochemistry blog, science writing

Using zebrafish to find human cancer drugs


Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprof

My lab in the Department of Molecular & Structural Biochemistry and Dr. Jeff Yoder in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at NC State University applied for an award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NCSU.

We use zebrafish to screen small molecule drug libraries as a method to characterize potential anti-cancer drugs.

The project was selected as one of three finalists for the Outstanding Faculty Award at the Stewards of the Future: Research for Human Health & Global Sustainability conference.

As a token of encouragement and appreciation, the Board of Directors of the NC Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Foundation offers the first Stewards of the Future Research Awards.  This competition is designed to help showcase the ingenuity and innovation of CALS scientists, and to provide a small award of flexible funding to help support awardees’ research programs.

The other two finalists in the Faculty category are Ignazio Carbone and Jun Tsuji. Each finalist has submitted a two minute video on the project.

The videos can be viewed on the conference website, and visitors will have the opportunity to vote for favorite video.

The winner will be decided by number of votes – most votes wins the award.

This was an interesting process because neither Dr. Yoder nor I have made a YouTube-style video as a way to explain a project. How does one describe the problem and why it’s important, the methods used, and the expected outcome – all in a two minute video?

We decided the video should show the steps of the process of using zebrafish as a model organism for drug design, from using embryos in drug screens to using adult zebrafish as models of human cancer. Many thanks to my students for putting this together. You can see the results below.

There are three ways you can vote (for our video):

  1. Vote here for the video grant: click on Tab “Using Zebrafish to Find Human Cancer Drugs”
  2. From Twitter: Tweet @poll ZEBRA
  3. Text ZEBRA to 22333

All three voting methods are also described on the conference website.