Zebrafish Workshop comes to GSCC

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Gadsden State Community College’s Aquaculture Department hosted a unique workshop August 6-8 on the Wallace Drive Campus – the first hands-on workshop for Zebrafish training. 

The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) co-sponsored the impressive workshop through Gadsden State’s Zebrafish Husbandry Education Program, which was developed in 2012, through the collaboration and partnership of the UAB Animal Resource Program along with many well-known medical research colleges, facilities, and leading manufacturers of aquatic housing systems.

Traditionally medical research has depended on rats and mice as research subjects. 

Currently for many practical reasons, Zebrafish are being used more widely in research efforts.  They are less expensive, reproduce much faster than rodents, and the Zebrafish genome has been fully mapped.

Dr. Hugh Hammer, Gadsden State instructor, is well known throughout the world and respected as one of the most knowledgeable authorities in the field of aquaculture.  

“We are looking forward to this workshop which will be one of many planned to teach professionals how to work with Zebrafish,” Hammer said,.

The workshop was attended by supervisors, facility managers, and veterinarians.” An impressive list of approximately 40 attendees include professionals from hospitals such as Boston Children’s, M. D. Anderson, Oklahoma Medical Research, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research.  Collegiate professionals included instructors from as close as Emory University and as far as the University of Washington (Seattle) and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  There was also multiple pharmaceutical company representatives  in attendance. 

In addition to Dr. Hammer, instructors included Dr. George Sanders, University of Washington in Seattle; Dr. Susan Farmer, UAB; Dan Castranova, NIH and Charles River Laboratories; Erik Sanders, Washington University in St. Louis; Dr. Eric Henry, Reed Mariculture, Inc. from Campbell, California; Darrin Honious, YSI, Inc.; Brendan Delbos, Aquaneering, Inc.; Chris Obenschain, Tecniplast; Eric Herbst, Pentair Aquatic Ecosystems; and Eric Stone, Aquatic Enterprises. 

The participants were divided into small groups that will rotate through instructional stations allowing hands-on learning experiences. Topics included Spawning and Larviculture I, II, and III; Live Feeds I and II; Water Chemistry I and II; Cleaning and Disinfection; Recognizing Sick Fish, and Anesthesia/Euthanasia.  

Dr. George Sanders lectured on Occupational Health and Safety.

Additional sponsors making this workshop possible included Zebrafish Husbandry Association, Aquatic Solutions By Tecniplast, Aquaneering, Inc., Pentair Aquatic Ecosystems, Inc., Aquatic Enterprises, Inc., YSI, Inc., Skretting, Inc., R & D Aquatics, and Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange.

For more information concerning the Aquaculture Program at Gadsden State contact Dr. Hugh Hammer at 256-549-8345 or hhammer@gadsdenstate.edu.

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