Gadsden State hosts Zebrafish Workshop

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By Kaitlin Fleming 

Staff Correspondent 

Gadsden State Community College’s Aquaculture Department recently held the 2nd Annual Zebrafish Husbandry Education Curriculum Development Workshop. This workshop attracted researchers, professors, biologists and aquatic specialists from all over the state, country and world. 

The Zebrafish workshop is designed to design an educational program to train people to care for Zebrafish. The Gadsden State Aquaculture Department offers the only Zebrafish training program in the United States.

Zebrafish has been used for biomedical research for more than 20 years. The Zebrafish has been used in research for genetic diseases, cancer, neurological disorders and drug addictions.  The Zebrafish is the new lab rat. There are about 500 laboratories in the United States that use Zebrafish for medical research. 

Dr. Hugh Hammer, the manager of the Gadsden State Aquaculture Department, said you could go to the Internet and search any disease and add the word “Zebrafish” for research statistics. 

“I know a research expert who has been studying the effects of heroin in the fish,” said Dr. Hammer, “They are great for any kind of research.”

The Gadsden State Aquaculture Department had been preparing for the weeklong workshop for many weeks. This is their second time doing this workshop. 

This particular workshop attracted 12 world experts in the Zebrafish field as well as numerous representatives from all over America.

“This is the greatest gathering of knowledge and experience,” Dr. Hammer said. 

Dr. Hammer went on to say that there were experts from Harvard, Princeton, Clemson, Boston Children’s Hospital and many others. 

John Smink, a facility manager at two Zebrafish laboratories at Clemson University, said the workshop was very helpful and insightful. 

“It’s been an incredible experience and highly recommend everyone in this field to attend it,” Smink said.

Dr. Hammer’s students participated in the event. Two of his students, Brianna Mercier and Caleb Dobbs said they enjoyed talking to world experts. 

“My favorite part of the workshop was getting information and great advice from experts,” Dobbs said.

Gadsden State hopes to host the third workshop next year. Dr. Hammer is looking forward to meeting even more experts and bringing together the greatest minds in this field. 

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