Access Track 4:
Marine Metazoan Developmental Models for BioMedical research – from predictive integrated databases to functional testing

Access Track 4 is geared to provide advanced understanding of biological mechanisms underlying disease, through promoting the use of diverse and experimentally accessible alternative model species. Marine species have long proved powerful models for understanding many cellular phenomena including the gene regulatory networks underlying cellular and developmental transitions, fertilization, cell division, differentiation, stem cell biology, morphogenesis, regeneration, ageing and physiological responses. These animals are more accessible for experimentation compared to traditional animal model species with lesser ethical considerations. The overall aim of this Access Track is to set up integrated databases for a complementary set of selected marine metazoan models, which will build on existing community resources (genome, gene expression and imaging data) from the EMBRC partners covering 3 marine models: amphioxus (Branchiostoma), sea urchin (Paracentrotus) and jellyfish (Clytia). These species form a complementary and powerful set of experimental model species.

EMBRC, ELIXIR and Euro-BioImaging will work together in the next years to develop pipelines to establish harmonized marine metazoan developmental model databases integrating genomic, transcriptomic and morphological data with user-friendly entry portals. Would you like to become familiar with the marine animals and explore the wide variety of research possibilities already before the genome database is accessible? Apply to Access Track 4 and get access to the biological material of the marine model animals already now! Combine this for the benefit of your project with the use of high-end imaging technologies provided by Euro-BioImaging and work together with ISBE on the development of computational models for your biological question!

In case of questions please contact the Access Track leader Evelyn Houliston.

Exemplary service pipeline with consecutive access to different research infrastructures offered in Access Track 4

Example of an ongoing project:

Developing Clytia as a neurobiology research model

Dr. David Anderson
California Institute of Technology

"Access to the CORBEL database ahead of its official launch will give us invaluable information to develop new neurobiological applications using the Clytia model. The design of in situ probes would be extremely helpful in finding neural promoters. The services offered by CORBEL can lead to a huge step forward in neurobiological research."


Scientific interest: This would be a first attempt to assess the suitability of Clytia for neurobiological applications. Neural mechanisms underlying behavior in Clytia will be studied by imaging and manipulating neural activity. For this purpose, we plan to generate transgenics expressing for example calcium indicators or channelrhodopsin in neural populations.

Work plan: The specific aim of this project is to identify neural promoters in the genome sequence by characterizing the expression of neural genes using in situ hybridization. The Clytia genome and the CORBEL database will be used to design in situ probes and to find neural promoters. The pilot user will have remote access to the CORBEL databases that are currently being developed by EMBRC and ELIXIR. Feedback will be offered on the functioning and client friendliness of the database and the genome browser.