ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-160804-14
Modeling human diseases: an education in interactions and interdisciplinary approaches
Traditionally, most investigators in the biomedical arena exploit one model system in the course of their careers. Occasionally, an investigator will switch models. The selection of a suitable model system is a crucial step in research design. Factors to consider include the accuracy of the model as a reflection of the human disease under investigation, the numbers of animals needed and ease of husbandry, its physiology and developmental biology, and the ability to apply genetics and harness the model for drug discovery. In my lab, we have primarily used the zebrafish but combined it with other animal models and provided a framework for others to consider the application of developmental biology for therapeutic discovery. Our interdisciplinary approach has led to many insights into human diseases and to the advancement of candidate drugs to clinical trials. Here, I draw on my experiences to highlight the importance of combining multiple models, establishing infrastructure and genetic tools, forming collaborations, and interfacing with the medical community for successful translation of basic findings to the clinic.
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