Regulation of respiration in genetically-modified zebrafish

We are looking for highly motivated students with an interest in cellular and biochemical aspects of physiology at any levels of education and ECTS requirements (10-60 ECTS) to take part to a large interdisciplinary study with the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics financed by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, with Angela Fago ( as supervisor. The overall aim of the study is to understand how myoglobin (the oxygen storage protein of the heart) contributes to mitochondrial function, whole animal respiration as well as to the activity of central enzymes in respiration. We will use genetically modified zebrafish not expressing myoglobin (knock out) or expressing a modified version of myoglobin (knock in) in the heart and compare them to wild type zebrafish expressing normal myoglobin. The fundamental question is what happens to respiration at different levels of organization when myoglobin is removed from the heart or functions in a different way. We also aim to understand how the H2S pathway is affected by myoglobin in these genetically-modified zebrafish. H2S is an important signaling molecule in all animals, which is produced and degraded by enzymes and regulates many physiological functions, including tolerance to low oxygen and mitochondrial respiration.

Depending on the project of choice and on the duration, you will become expert in the use of animal respirometry, in techniques for studying protein function, enzyme kinetics, fluorescence detection of H2S and mitochondrial respiration As part of the group, you will work as a team and independently. We hold regular group meetings, journal club sessions and seminars.

Contact: Angela Fago

The project proposal has been submitted 15.06.2024.