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Zebra fish are unique because their larvae are transparent and their nervous system can be observed through their skin.

Cornell neurobiologist Joe Fetcho uses zebra fish as a model organism for developing a basic set of principles on the organization and function of neurons, and for studying cell regeneration. He has developed a robust strategy for inducing cell growth and restoration of function, both necessary for curing spinal cord injury.

In September 2009, Fetcho received the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, which supports scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering approaches twho propose pioneering approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.