Featured Project

October 10, 2018

How do amphibious fishes find their way around on land?

During a summer course, undergraduate Noah Bressman noticed a fish in the hallway.

It seemed odd that a fish had jumped out of the tank and travelled over 10 feet away. When he saw another fish in the exact same spot the next morning, he asked "why?".

Noah found that the fish tried to escape the tank because another fish was trying to eat it, and it travelled to a spot on the floor where light was shining through the window, mistaking it for a body of water. This discovery landed Noah his first publication in the Journal of Experimental Zoology

Now a PhD candidate, Noah is asking how catfish find their way around on land. He thinks catfish use visual and chemical cues to navigate on land and migrate to new bodies of water. To test this, Noah will place catfish on land for experiments and expose them to a variety of sensory cues and observe their responses to stimuli. The fish are in Ruskin, Florida, and he needs funds to conduct field work and to get there.

Secretly, we're just excited for the lab notes about the night vision goggles that he'll be using to observe the fish at night.

Featured Results

Crowdfunded scientific discoveries

eyeballs are important, you only get two of them

Experiment have found an ideal target to preventing cataracts

Daisy Shu and her collaborators at the Lens Research Lab at the University of Sydney in Australia have identified a target molecule to prevent cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

With the help of 52 backers on Experiment, the team ran experiments targeting specific molecules, called growth factors, that influence eye lens cells to undergo a scarring process which leads to cataracts.

Previous work in their lab identified a growth factor known as transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ), which activates proteins that turn normal cells into cataract cells. This experiment further confirms their hypothesis with more data, now published open-access in the journal Experimental Eye Research.

What this means: the new mechanism revealed by this project paves the way for targeted therapeutics to aim directly at genes that influence TGFβ as a treatment for cataracts.

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