Fatih Yanik, associate professor in the EECS Department and principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) has reported a new technology in the July 18 issue of the journal Nature Methods that enables live automated testing at high speed of zebrafish larvae, the frequent subject for testing treatments for liver, cancer and other serious ailments affecting humans. First authors of the Nature Methods paper are graduate students Carlos Pardo-Martin and Tsung-Yao Chang.
For the MIT News Office July 19, 2010, article, Yanik noted: "There is significant need for high-throughput [automated] studies on whole animals, at high resolution. People are currently doing this manually, which is too slow. Ours is the only system that can take a large library of chemicals and screen it on thousands of vertebrates."
The zebrafish larvae have and continue to be ideal testing models for a number of reasons: their biochemistry is very closely related to that of humans, they develop very rapidly and they are transparent for easier analysis. The new process not only positions each live larva, but takes only 19 seconds compared with current human manipulation taking up to 10 minutes per larva.
"High-throughput in vivo vertebrate screening" Nature Methods, July 18, 2010
MIT News Office July 19, 2010 article, "Imaging fish on the flyNew MIT technology allows high-speed study of zebrafish larvae, often used to model human diseases"