Zebrafish Facility Ghent

Zebrafish Facility Ghent

About zebrafish and the facility

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an increasingly popular model organism which offers several advantages over other model organisms for disease (including cancer) modeling: low cost, short reproductive cycle, external fertilization and development, production of large numbers of synchronous and rapidly developing embryos per mating and the optical transparency of zebrafish embryos make it an excellent tool for high-throughput disease modeling.The availability of a wide range of molecular techniques such as large-scale genome mutagenesis, transgenesis and overexpression/knockdown approaches, have also increased the power of zebrafish as a model organism. Finally, due the high genomic and molecular similarities between zebrafish and other vertebrates, many of the important discoveries in zebrafish development are applicable to humans.

The Zebrafish Facility Ghent, in its present form, has a capacity of about 17000 adult fish, which are housed in 6 “semi-closed” recirculating systems that provide automatic water circulation, automatic monitoring and displaying of the most important water quality parameters to ensure optimal and standardized environmental conditions for the fish. Besides wild type zebrafish, also several transgenic reporter lines and models for different human disorders, including different cancer models, are maintained in these systems. Important zebrafish lines are archived by sperm cryopreservation in order to prevent unexpected loss. Embryos and early larvae are kept in an incubator under constant temperature and automatic light/dark cycles. We use an easy-accessible software package, available on touchpads, to manage the zebrafish stocks, the breeding programs and daily husbandry tasks. A fully trained animal caretaker is involved in the breeding and care of the fish.

Services and expertise

  • Housing and training in basic zebrafish techniques. The ZFG facility provides housing tanks for rent and a professional staff can help researchers to manage their strains (including caretaking, breeding and genotyping). In addition, researchers can be trained for basic zebrafish techniques (including microinjection, in situ hybridization and microscopy) with further access to equipment. 
  • Generation of CRISPR mutants and morphants. The zebrafish is a powerful tool for in vivo functional characterization of gene function and gene variants. The ZFG facility provides services and training for gene knock-down using morpholinos and gene knock-out/knock-in using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing. 
  • Sperm cryopreservation, in vitro fertilization and biobanking. The ZFG facility provides reliable and cost-effective sperm cryopreservation services of valuable strains, including quality control of frozen samples by in vitro fertilization tests and long term storage.
  • Consultancy services. Consultancy services can be provided to help you perform your zebrafish research in the best possible way. Please contact us for any information.  


  • Paul Coucke - Director ZFG
  • Hanna De Saffel - Technological expert ZFG
  • Andy Willaert - Facility manager ZFG
  • Karen Vermeulen - Zebrafish animal care taker ZFG

Contact & links

  • Lab address: Zebrafish Facility Ghent, Ghent University Hospital, Medical Research Building – MRB1, ingang 34, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Website
  • CMGG
  • Speleman lab
  • mail: zfg@Ugent.be
  • tel: +32 9 332 4396