Clarkson professor awarded $420,000 grant to study development of intestinal stem cells using zebrafish vertebrate model system
Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 7:25 am

Clarkson University Associate Professor of Biology Kenneth Wallace showcases his subjects of study -- zebrafish -- a common aquarium fish who share more than 70 percent of their genes with humans.

POTSDAM -- Kenneth Wallace, associate professor of biology at Clarkson University, has been awarded a $420,000 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development at the National Institutes of Health to investigate development of intestinal stem cells using the zebrafish vertebrate model system.

While much has been discovered about how stem cells are controlled during the adult phase, much less is known about the origins of these stem cell compartments. Little is known about when the stem cells form and how they are regulated. To uncover more about how stem cells are regulated during development of the intestine, Wallace will use zebrafish, which have become a widely-used vertebrate model system.

Zebrafish are a common aquarium fish, which are small easy to care for and have embryos that develop rapidly in an external environment. They also share more than 70 percent of their genes with humans, making them an excellent system to study both development and the origins of disease. Understanding of the genes and mechanisms involved in formation and regulation of the fish intestinal stem cells will provide information about how human intestinal stem cells are regulated.

Aside from the main research component, a secondary goal of the grant and project is to provide resources for undergraduate Clarkson University students to perform independent research on the molecular and cellular basis of embryonic development under Wallace’s supervision. This will give them first-hand knowledge of developmental biology research practices and perhaps pique future interest in the field and research.