CMRC Fish Facility


CMRC supports a shared Fish Facility for the rearing and maintenance of zebrafish, directed by Dr. Topczewski. In the past few years the Fish Facility was dramatically expanded to accommodate the growing needs of investigators studying problems of development and cancer biology, neurobiology and regeneration. The Fish Facility supports research projects from six CMRC laboratories. In addition, investigators from Northwestern University (Chicago and Evanston campuses), DePaul University and University of Illinois at Chicago have also used the facility resources. 


The CMRC Fish Facility is outfitted with the Aquanee ring system, for the rearing and maintenance of zebrafish. Four separate systems accommodate over 2200 tanks for fry and adult fish, and provide optimal conditions for maintenance of up to 25,000 adult fish. All tanks are constantly supplied with water through inlet valves at a rate at which the water in the tanks is exchanged about three times per hour. The filtration system assures optimal water quality: tap water is purified by the Reverse Osmosis System, UV sterilization tower, particle prefilter, fine particle filter, and biofilter. 10% of fresh water is added to the system daily. Water quality (pH and conductivity) is monitored automatically. Water flow is also automatically controlled, and water level sensors with an alarm system are installed. The filter system requires minimal maintenance, and sustains high water quality. 


A very important part of the Fish Facility is a 120 sq. ft. Zebrafish Manipulation and Observation Room. This room is equipped with the Zeiss motorized compound and dissecting microscopes, for observation in regular and fluorescent light. These microscopes are outfitted with high-end digital cameras allowing them to take still pictures and record time-laps movies. The Manipulation and Observation Room is additionally equipped with specialized instruments for RNA, DNA, and oligonucleotides microinjection, cell transplantation and embryo incubators.  

Policies and Guidelines:

CMRC IACUC Standard Policy - Zebrafish 
Policy on Zebrafish Housing Density Requirements 



Zebrafish Developmental Staging Series  



CMRC Zebrafish Publications: 


  • Sarmah S, Barrallo-Gimeno A, Melville DB, Topczewski J, Solnica-Krezel L, Knapik EW. (April 2010) Sec24D-dependent transport of extracellular matrix proteins is required for zebrafish skeletal morphogenesis. PLoS One. 2010 Apr 28;5(4):e10367. 
  • Drerup CM, Wiora HM, Morris JA (January 2010) Characterization of the overlapping expression patterns of the zebrafish LIS1 orthologs. Gene Expr Patterns: 75-85.  
  • LeClair EE, Topczewski J, (January 2010) Development and Regeneration of the Zebrafish Maxillary Barbel: A Novel Study System for Vertebrate Tissue Growth and Repair.  PLoS ONE 5(1): e8737. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008737 
  • Leclair EE, Topczewski J (November 2009) Methods for the study of the zebrafish maxillary barbel.  JoVE 23;(33). pii: 1558. doi: 10.3791/1558. 
  • Camarata T, Krcmery J, Snyder D, Park S, Topczewski J, Simon H-G (November 2009). Pdlim7 (LMP4) regulation of Tbx5 specifies zebrafish heart atrio-ventricular boundary and valve formation.  Developmental Biology  
  • Morris JA. (November 2009) Zebrafish: a model system to examine the neurodevelopmental basis of schizophrenia. Prog Brain Res: 179:97-106. 
  • Schwend T, Ahlgren SC. (November 2009) Zebrafish con/disp1 reveals multiple spatiotemporal requirements for Hedgehog-signaling in craniofacial development. BMC Dev Biol. 30;9:59. 
  • Topczewski J and Solnica-Krezel L. (September 2009). Cytoskeletal dynamics of the zebrafish embryo. Essential zebrafish methods: Cell and developmental biology. Reliable Lab Solutions series. Elsevier Inc. pp 133-157 
  • LeClair EE, Mui S, Huang A, Topczewska JM, Topczewski J (September 2009) Craniofacial skeletal defects of adult zebrafish glypican 4 (knypek) mutants.  Dev Dynamics 238(10):2550-2563 
  • Sisson BE and Topczewski J (October 2009). Expression of five frizzleds during zebrafish craniofacial development.  GEP: 520-7 
  • Drerup CM, Wiora HM, Topczewski J, Morris JA. (August, 2009). Disc1 regulates foxd3 and sox10 expression, affecting neural crest migration and differentiation. Development: 136(15): 2623-2632 
  • Dale RM, Sisson BE, Topczewski J. (March, 2009). The Emerging Role of Wnt/PCP Signaling in Organ Formation.  Zebrafish:  6:9-14 
  • Loucks EJ, Ahlgren SC. (January 2009) Deciphering the role of Shh signaling in axial defects produced by ethanol exposure. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol:556-67 
  • Postel R, Vakeel P, Topczewski J, Knöll R, Bakkers J. (June, 2008). Zebrafish integrin-linked kinase is required in skeletal muscles for strengthening the integrin-ECM adhesion complex. Developmental Biology: 92-101. 
  • Carney TJ, von der Hardt S, Sonntag C, Amsterdam A, Topczewski J, Hopkins N, Hammerschmidt M. (October, 2007). Inactivation of serine protease Matriptase1a by its inhibitor Hai1 is required for epithelial integrity of the zebrafish epidermis. Development: 3461-3271. 
  • Loucks EJ, Schwend T, Ahlgren SC. (September 2007) Molecular changes associated with teratogen-induced cyclopia. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol:642-51  
  • Drerup CM, Ahlgren SC, Morris JA. (January 2007) Expression profiles of ndel1a and ndel1b, two orthologs of the NudE-Like gene, in the zebrafish. Gene Expr Patterns: 672-9. 
  • Topczewska JM, Postovit LM, Margaryan NV, Sam A, Hess AR, Wheaton WW, Nickoloff BJ, Topczewski J and Hendrix MJC (August, 2006). Embryonic and tumorigenic pathways converge via Nodal signaling: role in melanoma aggressiveness . Nat Med: 925 - 932. 
Last modified 07/2010