Zebrafish VAST BioImager System

This campaign ended on December 31, 2020, but you can still make a gift to Georgetown University by clicking here!

Make a difference today by joining the Zebrafish Lab at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in making revolutionary scientific breakthroughs!

Stan Corey recently had the opportunity to visit and do a little volunteer work at the zebrafish lab at Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. What he expected to see were zebrafish- what he found was a wonderful opportunity to support and expand upon revolutionary scientific research. 

Zebrafish are a well-established animal model for studies of development and human disease. They are easily bred in the laboratory and produce large numbers of transparent embryos which undergo rapid organ development. 

Zebrafish have many of the same tissues and organ systems as humans. 

By two days post fertilization, zebrafish embryos have a beating heart, circulatory system, and innate immune system, but an adaptive immune response does not develop for 2–4 weeks. This provides an ideal environment for transplanting human tumor cells, which are labeled with a fluorescent dye, injected into the yolk sac, and observed using fluorescence microscopy.

What we can do: Through existing technology, this lab has begun implanting tumor fragments obtained from cancer patients through surgery or biopsy into zebrafish embryos (Zevatars) for testing of molecularly-predictive therapies and evaluation of potential anti-cancer drugs. We envision that "Zevatars" may be used to determine drug sensitivities in individual patient tumors as an innovative technology in the context of personalized medicine. 

What we need to move forward: Much of this work is currently done by hand. To expand the lab and the reach of our research, Georgetown Lombardi needs to purchase a new piece of equipment, which will allow the research team to collect the data more efficiently and provide the needed data analysis to find the best treatments for many cancer patients, as well as many other diseases for which zebrafish are an effective conduit for research. 

The VAST BioImager system enables whole zebrafish organ-level bright field imaging of 2-7 dpf sedated larvae. The system quickly loads, positions & rotates a fish to a user selected orientation in the field of view of the on-board 10 μm resolution camera. Software allows manual or automated control of all the steps needed to capture and store images of the fish in your sample. 

Where you come in: The cost to purchase this system is $203,899. We need the support of an invested community to be able to purchase the system, or the research could stagnate. Every gift makes a difference in our ability to push the research paradigm forward.

Thank you for your consideration of support for this important work. 

100% of donations will directly support the purchase of the VAST BioImager system.

Questions? Contact Meg Lyons | Assistant Director of Development | 202-687-3660 | Megan.Lyons@georgetown.edu


If you would rather mail a check or give through a donor advised fund than give online, please direct all checks payable to: "Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center," with notation; dedicated to the Zebra Fish VAST BioImager. 

Mail checks to Georgetown Lombardi Development Office, Attn: Meg Lyons. 3300 Whitehaven Street NW, Suite 4000, Washington, DC 20007. 

All donations are tax deductible. Georgetown's Tax ID # is 53-0196603. Thank you for your support

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Antonio Venuti
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Deborah C Smith
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