Zebrafish beyond the bench: the ‘plataforma Zebrafish open doors’ programme

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The Butantan Institute is a pioneering Brazilian health sciences institution, which also houses a large science park with museums that contribute to ongoing science education for schools and the wider community. In recent years, as part of Butantan Institute’s Plataforma Zebrafish™, zebrafish embryos have been used for the dissemination of scientific knowledge during on-site events and as part of outreach campaigns to non-scientific audiences, mostly children. The aim of this work is mainly to demystify the activities of the scientific researcher, highlight the role of science in the furthering of knowledge, and increase public interest and confidence in science. In this article, the Institute’s ‘Plataforma Zebrafish Open Doors’ programme is described, which offered guided tours of the laboratory facilities. The tours gave visitors the opportunity to observe zebrafish research and embryo development, and to use the knowledge gained from this experience as a framework for understanding fundamental ethical issues. During the 2-day event, around 800 visitors (most of them school-age children) attended. Together with the guided tours, our experience of outreach offered meaningful opportunities to bring children and members of the public closer to science and ‘real-life’ scientists, hopefully inspiring and encouraging the next generation of scientists. It also gave the scientists an opportunity to engage more closely with wider society. We believe that these activities also substantially contribute to the wider dissemination of relevant experimental results that have been obtained with public funding and that impact society in general.
Disner GR, Falcão MAP, Lima C, Lopes-Ferreira M. Zebrafish beyond the bench: The ‘plataforma Zebrafish open doors’ programme. Altern. Lab. Anim.. 2021 Sep; 49(5):171-181. doi:10.1177/02611929211057889.
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