Dr. Jan Spitsbergen studies both diseases that specifically affect zebrafish and human diseases that can be modelled in a zebrafish host. Fish can be used to study human diseases including cancer, genetic conditions including Fanconi anaemia and infectious agents such as bacteria and parasites. Zebrafish are a particularly useful model species, as they breed well, grow rapidly, and are laboratory friendly. Genetically modified zebrafish have been developed that are more susceptible to a range of cancers for use in human cancer studies.
Spitsbergen, J.M., Buhler, D.R., Peterson, T.S. 2012. Neoplasia and neoplasm-associated lesions in laboratory colonies of zebrafish emphasizing key influences of diet and aquaculture system design. ILAR J. 53(2):114-125.
Spitsbergen, J.M. and Kent, M.L. 2003. State of the art of the zebrafish model for toxicology and toxicologic pathology research--advantages and current limitations. The Toxicologic Pathology 31:62-87.