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Project Profile

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Dead Sea & Arava Science Center (DSASC C)

Zebrafish facility for medical research at the Central Arava Branch


The DNA of the zebrafish is completely mapped. Based on a similar model at the Sheba Hospital it is proposed to use the zebrafish as a bio-model organism for developmental biology and human disease, to unveil the mechanisms involved in the progression and cure of human diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.


The main objectives of the project are to use the zebrafish to study the inflammatory responses in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). More specifically:

  • To utilize current established zebrafish transgenic lines to track the migration and activation of bone marrow derived cells within the diseased brain using state-of-the-art live cell imaging.
  • To establish the signaling pathways underlying the immune response in the brain.
  • To perform genetic modifications to determine the effect of distinct genes on the neurodegenerative process.

The study is expected to shed light on mechanisms underlying the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, aiding in the development of immune-based therapies.

In future it is aimed to:

  • Use zebrafish for high-throughout in vivo screening for anti-cancer agents.
  • Develop zebrafish transgenic reporter lines for the detection of toxicity and specific water pollutions.

Core personnel

  • Dr. Niva Russek-Blum, Ph.D., living in Moshav Hazeva, from the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences.
  • A technician
  • A student will be recruited and will be mentored in collaboration with a scientist from Ben Gurion University.


Dr. Niva Russek-Blum