Radboud Zebrafish Facility

The Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences houses aquaria where research is done with zebrafish as an animal model. Research groups from Radboud University and Radboudumc collaborate in multidisciplinary research lines to improve the model's impact.

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a widely recognised vertebrate model organism in scientific research, and it is of both fundamental and translational importance. The research in our facility spans and integrates gene regulation, cell signalling, tissue functioning, and whole-organism physiology. 

For whom?

We are open to, and continuously seeking, collaborations with internal as well as external parties in joint projects, strategic alliances and exchanges of expertise. We offer advice, guidance, and support on the conduct of zebrafish research, including experimental design, the use of state-of-the-art technologies and handling and care of fish.

Organismal Animal Physiology

Fish and aquaria

The facility provides high-quality zebrafish husbandry in several modern housing systems and currently holds over 10,000 fish, including different wild type strains, visually detectable transgenic reporter lines and mutants with loss- and gain-of-function phenotypes.

Our fish are housed in recirculating systems that provide automatic water circulation, biological filtration and UV-C treatment. All systems are equipped with automated monitoring and control units that measure water quality parameters such as pH, conductivity, and temperature. In addition, technical parameters are continuously safeguarded, such as pump functioning and water levels and flow.

Photo of a microinjection of a zebrafish egg with a tiny needle

Embryos and larvae are kept in incubators under controlled temperatures and light/dark cycles. We use user-friendly software to manage our zebrafish stocks, record water quality parameters, keep up breeding programmes and conduct daily health inspections. We have three fully trained animal caretakers responsible for fish husbandry, breeding and building customised experimental setups.

Techniques and expertise

Because equipment and know-how are shared in our facility, members have access to a wide range of technologies and expertise. We also can provide support on the design of new experiments and approaches. 

Inside the Radboud Zebrafish Facility

Safety and ethics

Only certified employees and researchers have authorised access to the facility. The husbandry and care of fish are subject to a range of national and international laws and regulations. In our daily routine, we devote active attention to the welfare of our fish, going beyond complying with legal standards and regulations. For example, within our platform, we agree to adhere to self-established strict protocols for optimal densities, regular health inspections and responsible anaesthesia and euthanasia of our fish.

Handling, experimentation, and genetic engineering/modification of zebrafish have obvious ethical implications, some of which relate to animal welfare. These issues need to be considered by all participants. Our facility manager is in close contact with the university Animal Welfare Body. Together they supervise the correct compliance with legal regulations and contribute to advanced refinement, replacement and reduction of experimental animal use.

Our facilities are approved for the contained housing and use of genetically modified animals. To this end, regular reports and inspections are carried out by the bodies involved.

Contact & Access

The Radboud Zebrafish facility is located in the basement of the Huygens Building.

Are you interested in working with the Radboud Zebrafish Facility? Please reach out to dr. Juriaan Metz and include information about which type of collaboration you would be interested in and what research question you would like to investigate.