BioMedaqu is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MCSA-ITN) with the primary research aim to create an innovative expertise combining research in skeletal biology of aquaculture fish species with that in biomedical models and humans. In total, 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be appointed by the BioMedaqu consortium for 36 months each.
BioMedaqu aims to bring together the expertise and research approaches from the aquaculture field and the biomedical sector using model fish species. Skeletal anomalies are a continuous problem in farmed fish, affecting fish welfare, performance and product quality. At the same time, human skeletal pathologies are an increasing concern in our aging populations which has triggered research using the tools offered by small fish models. A new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers equipped with skills to assess and understand the biology of skeletal formation and regeneration and trained to convert resulting knowledge and ideas into accessible tools and services for the long-term control of skeletal pathologies is urgently needed. The BioMedaqu Innovative Training Network [ITN] proposes a holistic approach by providing 15 individual, personalised research projects with exposure to scientific, innovative and entrepreneurial training mobility across the ITN. The intersectorial network combines stakeholders from 8 European Universities, a US research hospital, and a Biological Institute. Commercial interests are represented by two Economy departments, one aquaculture, 3 major fish feed production companies, one food additive company, one biomedical company and a software cooperative. Together they cover multiple disciplines including Aquaculture, Anatomy, Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Orthopedics, Biophysics, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, Geometric Morphometrics, Molecular Biology, Nutrition, Socio-Economics, Supervised Learning. This combined expertise enables a highly focused program for training and for developing novel tools and concepts. Methodology will include emerging technologies; generation and analysis of mutant zebrafish lines using the CRISPR/Cas9 methodology; fish skeleton derived cell lines; analytical molecular tools for the genes and proteins; transgenic zebrafish lines e.g. fluorophores in skeletogenic tissue; Neural Network – based analysis of data; standardized methodologies for mass monitoring of skeletal anomalies in fishes or new insights on the interactions between muscle and skeleton, Discrete Choice Analysis methods for decision making. The project will provide a unique and high level of training for a new generation of specialists with transferable skills and enhanced career perspectives who will ultimately aid the efficient development of future control strategies for improved health.