Florida College Students’ Research Explores Zebrafish as Pioneering Models for Toxicology Studies

November 13, 2023 | 3 min read

Seniors Truth Clevenger and Jacob Paz have made waves in the world of scientific research with their recently approved research review. Their review article, published in the esteemed International Journal of Toxicology, delves into the potential of zebrafish as innovative animal models for toxicology studies, focusing on their role in investigating the effects of toxins on cognition and neuromuscular function.

These students have shed light on the extraordinary utility of zebrafish in scientific research. Known for their transparency during embryonic stages, rapid reproduction, genetic similarity to humans, and ease of maintenance, zebrafish have emerged as extraordinary model organisms with far-reaching implications.

The students’ choice to explore the applications of zebrafish in toxicology research stems from the urgent concern of red tide outbreaks in the Gulf of Florida and beyond. Red tides, often driven by harmful algal blooms, release toxins that have a devastating impact on marine life. The students recognized the need for a deeper understanding of toxin effects on cognition and neuromuscular function, and zebrafish are emerging as pivotal players in tackling this critical environmental issue.

“While our lab focuses on zebrafish, it’s the skills the students learn and develop while being members of the research team that will benefit them most in their future endeavors,” said Dr. Andrew Stafford, Chair of the Math & Science Department.”Skills such as group collaboration, critical thinking, researching and sifting through complex information, gathering data for statistical analysis and interpretation, and communicating complex ideas in a digestible way. The depth and breadth of such skills which are impossible to teach in a traditional classroom format, are naturally taught in an undergraduate research environment.”

Their research, now approved for publication in the International Journal of Toxicology, marks a significant stride in acknowledging the relevance and potential of zebrafish in toxicology studies. Ultimately, this research paves the way for safer and more informed practices in toxicology and environmental science.

To read their review, click here.