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Using Zebrafish to Study Brain Development and Neural Stem Cell Regulation (Karlstrom Lab) - FULL

Our competitive Research Intensives program places high-achieving high school students in professional working labs alongside distinguished faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

Research Intensive in the Using Zebrafish to Study Brain Development and Neural Stem Cell Regulation Lab (Karlstrom Lab)

This research experience in the Karlstrom Lab will include working with zebrafish as a model animal system to examine nervous system development, growth, and the regulation of neural stem cell proliferation. The student will work with current lab members on projects that could include: 1) how signaling molecules affect the proliferation of neural stem cell populations, or 2) how regional growth is controlled in the brain, and/or 3) mapping gene expression and stem-cell identities in the brain using fluorescent transgenic fish.

These projects are designed to provide the student with exposure to the study of nervous system development and neural stem cell regulation. Neural stem cell proliferation is a highly regulated process that is needed for brain growth, tissue maintenance, and adult vertebrate brain function. The zebrafish brain continues to add new neurons throughout life, providing an excellent model for understanding the mechanisms that regulate post-embryonic neurogenesis.  Understanding the cell-cell signaling systems that regulate stem cell proliferation could have implications for understanding adult neurogenesis in humans. Disruption of these processes can lead to tumors in humans, thus an understanding of the mechanisms of regulating cell proliferation in zebrafish also promises to impact our understanding of human cancers.

Overall, the student will learn how the zebrafish can be used as a model organism to study developmental and disease processes that are similar across vertebrate species, including humans.

The Karlstrom Lab can host up to 5 students. Learn more

Program Overview

During this program, high school students will assist UMass faculty and graduate students in research labs while learning about research methodologies and contributing to ongoing research studies. Each student will create and present a research poster to faculty, fellow students, friends and family at a poster session at the end of the program.

Students will come away with an introduction to the field of Biology, firsthand experience with university-level research, and an understanding of opportunities that exist for undergraduate students at a major R1 university such as UMass Amherst.



For all Research Intensives applications: In your statement of interest, please include 3 lab choices from our list of available labs along with a brief explanation of your interest in each one.

This course is offered at the UMass Amherst campus as a residential program. Local students may apply to attend as a commuter.