Fish Core Facility


While much of the fundamental scientific research carried out in our institute is done using animal-free methods, some questions related to aging, can only be addressed using animal models. For this purpose, the naturally short-lived Turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) is an excellent emerging vertebrate model organism that complements other standard model organisms, including flies, worms and rodents.

Over the past 8 years the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing has become a leading killifish research centre, and since 2022 the Fish Facility offers the institute’s scientists the opportunity to use this expertise for their research projects.

The concept of the facility is to provide scientists with the opportunity to rapidly and efficiently test if genes and treatments linked to lifespan in other systems (long-lived human cohorts, C. elegans or D. melanogaster) have conserved functions in a vertebrate. To achieve this, the facility offers the full breadth of necessary services, starting from support in planning killifish experiments, to generating transgenic lines and assessing phenotypic outcomes. Phenotyping assays include behavioural tracking, monitoring of energy metabolism and body composition, as well as in vivo studies using fluorescent reporter lines.

In the Fish Facility we provide consultation to scientists on how to best include killifish in their research, and help experimental design based on the most up-to-date ethical and experimental standards. Day-to-day animal care, husbandry and basic services are carried by experienced fish caretakers, and we also offer an internal training course for researchers who want to gain hands-on experience working with the animals themselves.

Our institute has also developed numerous close cooperations with research groups all over the world, with whom we share reagents, best practices and training opportunities. Our Facility also acts as a training and resource hub for researchers new to the field and is involved in the vocational training offered by the Comparative Biology Facility.