In 2020 construction was completed of a new Zebrafish Research Facility designed by Brand Architects in the basement of the Howard Florey Building at the Parkville Campus of the University of Melbourne. Occupying 165 m2, this fit-out comprises a 100m2 zebra fish holding room/laboratory & with laboratory support spaces adjacent. The facility is strictly designed to OGTR PC2 laboratory certification.

The fully Italian designed and manufactured water treatment, reticulation and holding plant is a striking feature in this efficient open-planned fit-out – a total of 2160 individual fish holding tanks are housed in 33No multi-tiered racks.

Zebrafish are a model organism used widely in medical and biological research including research in developmental biology, genomics, neuroscience, ocular biology and many other applications. Zebrafish are an ideal model for a number of studies as they have fast generation time and increasing interest can be seen in the numbers of research projects which utilise Zebrafish. Large purpose-built facilities are a typical feature of universities involved in medical and biological research, and arguably this has been a major deficiency on the Parkville campus for many years.

The new Zebrafish facility/platform provides much needed purpose-built infrastructure to the Parkville Precinct, providing current and future researchers a space for collaboration (with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and others) and establish cross-disciplinary links allowing the Faculty and University to strengthen its research excellence by providing further Environmental, Biological and Medical research opportunities. The platform will also attract additional top researchers from around the world who are now using zebrafish for genetic modelling, screening, drug screening and translational research. It also has the potential to enhance undergraduate and higher degree research through access to key model organism.

The creation of this laboratory is a critical step in a longer term University programme of Zebrafish research expansion.