Using zebrafish to study myelination and neural circuit function

Year of award: 2018


  • Prof David Lyons

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

About half the volume of our brain is white matter, which contains the electrical cables (axons) that transmit information. Learning and sensory experiences can alter our white matter, suggesting that this alteration may play an active role in modulating brain function. The ‘white’ in white matter comes from structures called myelin sheaths, which surround our axons. Myelin controls the speed of information transmission along axons. It is thought that alterations to myelin could fine-tune the speed of information transmission along axons, and thus improve brain function. 

We will use zebrafish to definitively test this idea as we can directly see myelin in the brain and test how its alteration affects many aspects of brain function over time. 

This work will help us better understand some key aspects of our brain function, relevant to both healthy and diseased brains.