Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Microfluidic Applications in C. elegans Learning and Memory, Reproductive Aging and Protein Trafficking Dynamics

Siran Li
Room 101, Carl Ichan Lab
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

C. elegans has been a very good model for studying aging-related problems because it has a short life span, transparent body and 80% of its proteins have human orthologs. The conventional approach of studying C. elegans is to culture and study them on agar plates, but this has many limitations. For example, it is difficult to study a single worm’s behavior, to immobilize a worm, and to prevent worms from burrowing into the agar. Microfluidics has been playing an important role in the current biological and medical study such as cell separation, bacteria growth, and human cell culture, because of the excellent biocompatibility of PDMS. The research work presented in this thesis is intended to apply microfluidic approaches to C. elegans aging study. To be specific, this thesis includes microfluidic and optic approaches that I have developed to study C.elegans’ behavior, immobilization, and long-term culture --- three categories that are most remarkable in the current research on the C. elegans study by using microfluidics approaches. In particular, I will explain how to use microfluidic approaches to study two important aging phenotypes: cognitive ability decline and reproductive ability decline, both of which are also two early and notable aging phenotypes in human beings. In addition, I will also discuss the application of microfluidic approaches in the study of two important transcriptional factors related to one of the most famous aging pathways in C. elegans --- the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway.