New Innovation Pipeline Helps Bring Vision to Light

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

By Michael C. Carolan '09MA

Behind a single unmarked door in the basement of Morrill Science Center III are more than 6,000 of one of science’s most valuable models for studying human genetics and disease—the zebrafish. The tiny, striped members of the minnow family dart about in 200 small tanks on racks that are four rows deep.

The Jensen Lab is not a large room. There are no windows, there’s fluorescent lighting, and the air is humid, though it smells neither fresh nor stale. Large electric pumps hum in the corner. It’s an intimate place where water, and life, are in nonstop motion; there’s a constant purring.

Today, Abigail Jensen, University of Massachusetts Amherst associate professor of biology, shows me one tank in particular. In this tank, all of the zebrafish—each 3 to 4 centimeters long—have lost their zebra; their typical five uniform, pigmented, horizontal stripes are gone. Called “crystals,” these creatures are a translucent pink. I can see the outlines of their backbones and the shadows of their tiny internal organs.  Read more...

Link to Original Article: 

https://www.umass.edu/magazine/fall-2019/innovation