Worm Research Lab

McMaster University

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research [2016/06/01 11:33]
admin [Electrotaxis]
research [2017/10/24 13:01] (current)
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-How organisms develop from a single fertilized embryo and how they interact ​with the environment are major focus of research in Biology. Understanding these questions requires identification of key genestheir expression ​patterns, ​and functional ​crosstalks. Since many of these genes are also linked to diseases such as cancers and neuronal degeneration,​ a detailed knowledge of the regulatory networks of gene interactions and function will ultimately help find treatments for major illnesses thereby improving human health.\\+How cells form tissues? How do they communicate ​with each other and respond to environmental signals? How cell-cell interactions give rise to complex animal behavior? Finding answers to these major questions requires identification of key genes and understanding ​their expression and functional ​crosstalk. Since such genes are also linked to diseases such as cancers and neuronal degeneration,​ a detailed knowledge of the regulatory networks of gene interactions and function will ultimately help develop ​treatments for major illnesses thereby improving human health.\\
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-Toward this goal we are investigating three conserved ​biological processes, namely, cell signaling, cell proliferation and differentiation,​ in two well-established ​model organisms (nematodes or worms), //C. elegans// and //C. briggsae//. These two species offer many experimental advantages including rapid development (~3 days from egg to adult), transparency,​ small (~1 mm), hermaphroditic life style, and compact genome (~100 megabases). Approximately two-thirds of the genes in worms have human homologs and many of the gene function and cellular and molecular processes are conserved all the way to human.\\+My group is investigating three fundamental ​biological processes, namely, cell signaling, cell proliferationand cell differentiation,​ in two established ​animal models, //C. elegans// and //C. briggsae//. These two nematode ​species ​(or worms) ​offer many experimental advantages including rapid development (~3 days from egg to adult), transparency,​ small (~1 mm), hermaphroditic life style, and compact genome (~100 megabases). Approximately two-thirds of the genes in worms have human homologs and many of the gene function and cellular and molecular processes are conserved all the way to human.\\
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-Specific ​research ​topics ​in our lab include:\\ +Major areas of research in our lab focus on:\\
-  * Signaling pathway function and crosstalks+
   * Tissue morphogenesis   * Tissue morphogenesis
-  * Transcriptional regulation 
   * Cancer genetics   * Cancer genetics
-  * //C. briggsae// linkage maps (read [[http://​www.briggsae.org/​|here]]) +  * Comparative and evolutionary genetics ​(read [[http://​www.briggsae.org/​|here]]) 
-  * Functional genomics in //​Caenorhabditis//​ nematodes +  * Neurobiology and behavior ​(read more about it [[http://​www.macwormlab.net/​labchip/​|here]]) ​ 
-  * Neurobiology and drug discovery ​(read more about it [[http://​www.macwormlab.net/​labchip/​|here]]) ​+  * Signaling pathway function, crosstalk, and transcriptional regulation
  
  
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 ===== Electrotaxis ===== ===== Electrotaxis =====
  
-{{ :​images:​electrotaxis.gif?​400|}}Our lab is also investigating the electrotaxis phenomenon in nematodes, ​its applications,​ and neuronal basis of such a behavior.\\+{{ :​images:​electrotaxis.gif?​400|}}Our lab is also investigating the electrotaxis phenomenon in nematodes, ​the neuronal basis of this behavior, and its applications.\\
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-**Electrotaxis is the movement of organisms in response to an electric field stimulus.** In collaboration with Ravi Selvaganapathy (Mechanical Engineering,​ McMaster University) <color blue>we provided the first evidence of electrotaxis ​response ​in //C. elegans// in a microfluidic channel environment (Rezai et al., Lab Chip 2010). We showed that DC electric field stimulus ​induces ​the worm to swim towards cathode with a characteristic speed that is robust, instantaneous and highly sensitive.</​color>​ Subsequently,​ we demonstrated that dopamine (DA) neurons play important role in mediating the electrotaxis behavior. The involvement of DA signalling ​has allowed us to model Parkinson'​s disease in //C. elegans//, ​in order to understand ​the mechanism of neurodegeneration and to identify neuorprotective chemicals. ​+**Electrotaxis is the movement of organisms in response to an electric field stimulus.** In collaboration with Ravi Selvaganapathy (Mechanical Engineering,​ McMaster University) <color blue>we provided the first evidence of electrotaxis in //C. elegans// in a microfluidic channel environment (Rezai et al., Lab Chip 2010). We showed that low voltage ​DC electric field induces ​worms to swim towards cathode with a characteristic speed. This response ​is robust, instantaneous and highly sensitive.</​color>​ Subsequently,​ we demonstrated that dopamine (DA) neurons play important role in mediating the electrotaxis behavior. The involvement of DA signalling ​provides a basis to model Parkinson'​s disease in //C. elegans//, ​and to investigate ​the mechanism of neurodegeneration and to identify neuorprotective chemicals. ​
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