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Kate Turner

Research Technician
020 3549 5514 (t)

The construction of an online atlas of zebrafish developmental neuroanatomy.

I completed my BSc in Neuroscience at UCL in 2004. Since graduating I have been working with Tom Hawkins and Monica Folgueira as a research assistant for a joint project between Steve Wilson and Jon Clarke's labs. We are in the process of creating an online neuroanatomical atlas of the zebrafish embryonic brain, Zebrafishbrain.org. Over the course of this project we have imaged many different transgenic lines in particular those generated by some of the large-scale enhancer trap screens performed by Tom Becker, Vladimir Korzh and Herwig Baier laboratories. Transgenic lines are imaged at high resoloution using a confocal microscope. By combining anti-GFP antibody with other markers we are able to characterise these different expression patterns neuroanatomically. The delineation of particular brain nuclei and tracts by the transgenic lines was used to form the basis of the atlas of brain development.

We are also able to perform 3D rendering of this confocal data to create models of different brain structures or gene expression profiles. In addition to these images we can make time-lapse movies of cell behaviour and also look at single cell morphology in different brain regions. All the images and movies we produce from the different transgenic lines are put together alongside neuroanatomical descriptions of the expression patterns. We also write 'tutorials' for specific brain regions drawing together various images and models that best describe each brain structure/area. The atlas will be maintained as an online resource for the community. You can read more about the atlas project in our research pages or visit the atlas website. This work was initially funded by the European Union as part of a multi-lab framework 6 projects entitled ZF-models (www.zf-models.org). It is now continuing under BBSRC funding.

Figure 1: Distinct populations of neurons are GFP positive (green) in Tg(brn3a-hsp70:GFP)(Okomoto et al. 2008, Dev Growth Differ. 2008 Jun;50) counterstained with anti-tubulin immunostaining (red). (A)undissected and (B)eye and skin removed to reveal the optic nerve innervating the optic tectum.

Illuminating Descending Pathways of the Embryonic Telencephalon.

Alongside my work as a research technician I am doing a part-time PhD in the lab. My project has a strong neuroanatomical basis and is designed to produce data that can feed directly into Zebrafishbrain.org. For this project I am using BAC transgenesis to create Gal4 transgenic constructs and lines that have restricted expression in the telencephalon. These drivers can be combined with UAS driven transgenic lines and constructs to looks at individual neuronal morphologies and to try to define the projection patterns of the various telencephalic areas in the embryonic and adult brains. I also hope to eventually use trans-synaptic labelling in order to trace circuits originating in the telencephalon.

Coordination of cell proliferation and differentiation during retinal differentiation. In collaboration with Florencia Cavodeassi and Kara Cerveny.

We have made use of a zebrafish mutant, flotte lotte, where cell cycle progression is impaired. Our analysis has uncovered the importance of tightly coordinating cell cycle progression with the secretion of certain signals to control when and how terminal cell cycle exit and differentiation occur in the retina [Cerveny, Cavodeassi, Turner et al. (2010) Development, vol 137, 2107-2115]. Find more here.


Turner, K. J., Hawkins, T. A., Yáñez, J., Anadón, R., Wilson, S. W., & Folgueira, M (2016)
Afferent Connectivity of the Zebrafish Habenulae.
Front Neural Circuits. 2016 Apr 26;10:30. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2016.00030. eCollection 2016.
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Turner KJ, Bracewell TG, Hawkins TA. (2014)
Anatomical dissection of zebrafish brain development.
Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1082:197-214. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-655-9_14.
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Cerveny, K.L., Cavodeassi, F., K. J. Turner, T. A. de Jong-Curtain, J. K. Heath, and S. W. Wilson (2010)
The zebrafish flotte lotte mutant reveals that the local retinal environment promotes the differentiation of proliferating precursors emerging from their stem cell niche
Development 137: 2107-2115
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Navratilova, P., Fredman, D., Hawkins, T.A., Turner, K., Lenhard, B., Becker, T. S., (2008)
Systematic human/zebrafish comparative identification of cis-regulatory activity around vertebrate developmental transcription factor genes
Dev Biol. 327:526-540
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