Zebrafish models of inherited human disease

We have several collaborations that use zebrafish to test the functional significance of potentially disease-causing human genetic variants. Because 80% of human genes have conserved orthologs in zebrafish and, in most cases, zebrafish and human genes are functionally interchangeable, zebrafish provide an excellent context in which to assess the significance of human genetic variants. Second, molecular genetic tools enable targeted expression of human variants in well-studied neurons with stereotyped morphology so that potential alterations can be readily detected. Third, because larval zebrafish are transparent, neuronal morphology and protein localization can be assessed in the context of the intact nervous system. In sum, zebrafish provide a rich and relevant context in which to assess the functional relevance of genes implicated in human disease.


Collaborators Margaret Pericak-Vance and Holly Cukier and the NGS group at the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG)

Biology Graduate students Rob Kozol and Bing Zou

Research Associate Emma Back

Retinitis pigmentosa

Collaborators Stephan Zuchner and Katerina Walz (HIHG), Rong Wen and Byron Lam (Bascom-Palmer), and Gennaro D’Urso (Pharmacology)

Biology Jeff Prince and undergraduate Scott Miyazaki

Charcot Marie Tooth Disease

PI: Stephan Zuchner (HIHG)

PIBS graduate student Alex Abrams (co-mentored by Drs. Zuchner and Dallman)


PI: Mustafa Tekin (HIHG)

John Lu & Isaac Skromne


Drs. Olaf Bodamer and Christina Hung


PI: Jeff Vance (HIHG)

Derek Dykxhoorn (human stem cells), Gennaro D’Urso (yeast systems biology), and I constitute the modeling core for “Genetics of Parkinsonism” Udall grant (2011-16).

Research Associate Emma Back

Labs next door and a train ride away: The Dallman lab is one of three labs (with Lu and Skromne) that use zebrafish to study developmental neuroscience in the Biology department. We have a state of the art zebrafish facility and molecular and imaging core facilities to support our research efforts ( Our three labs are part of a larger community in the Biology Department where Development and Neuroscience are areas of strength ( The University of Miami neuroscience graduate program also has many participating members on medical and marine campuses.