Thesis subject

The effects of antidepressants during pregnancy in live bearding fish with and without a placenta

Project description
The placenta has evolved several times throughout the animal kingdom and plays a pivotal role in the regulation of normal growth and embryonal development. Although it has shaped regulatory mechanisms to respond to the continuously altering maternal environment, the placenta does not protect the embryo against all adverse effect.


Serotonin plays a key role in the early development across vertebrates. Alterations in the maternal serotonergic system, for instance using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants; SSRIs), may have deleterious effects for the developing embryo. The complex maternal fetal interaction makes it unclear whether exposure to adverse environments increases the risk for adverse outcomes in the offspring, and if so what the underlying mechanisms are. The main goal of this research project is to assess how SSRIs in the maternal environment influence the development of the offspring in fish species with and without a placenta.

Job description

This experiment will be performed at the Experimental Zoology Group (EZO) under supervision of dr. Bart Pollux. You will be involved in breeding the fish, antidepressant treatment, collection of embryos and placentas, measuring embryo development, HPLC/LC-MS measurements, tissue lysis, data analysis and so on.

The project will preferably start in April, but at least before June. The duration of the project is open for discussion but it will take approximately 6 months.


If you think this project suits you perfectly or you want to know more about this project and discuss the possibilities, please contact Bart Pollux via the contact form or Laura Staal (University of Groningen).

Examiner: prof.dr. Johan van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Bart Pollux
Contact: Bart Pollux or Laura Staal
Credits: 36 ECTS (or in consultation)
Begin date: 2018-04-01