Cardiomyopathy and heart failure affect millions of Americans, resulting in billions of dollars for related health care annually. The mission of the Zebrafish Genetics Laboratory is to exploit zebrafish as an animal model to understand molecular mechanisms of human cardiomyopathy and to seek novel therapeutics.
Towards this goal, we have established the first three adult zebrafish models that recapitulate different forms of human cardiomyopathies. Taking advantage of the unique transposon-based insertional mutagenesis screening strategy, we have generated a panel of mutants that modify the progression of cardiomyopathy. Cloning and further characterization of these zebrafish mutants promise to uncover novel insights on pathogenesis of human cardiomyopathy. We are also exploiting the unique chemical genetics in zebrafish to identify small molecule-based compounds that might lead to improved treatment of cardiomyopathies.