Exploring aging and behavior in C. elegans using a microfabricated multi-well device

Dr. Chris Fang-Yen
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 12:00pm
Mount Sinai Hospital, 60 Murray St. Level 3 Conference Rooms, L3-201-202-203
Invited Speaker Seminar
Work in the model roundworm C. elegans has been very successful for identifying conserved pathways and processes that regulate aging. Standard methods for measuring C. elegans aging are very low in throughput, dependent on manual observation, and largely focused on the lifespan distribution of a population, without access to individual behavioral or health trajectories. We have developed a system for automated monitoring of a large number of individually identified worms using the WorMotel, a microfabricated PDMS device optimized for imaging and cultivation of C. elegans. Each WorMotel consists of an array of up to 240 agar-filled wells optimized for worm cultivation and imaging. Using automated tools, we place a single animal per well, then monitor behavior in each animal over its lifespan using machine vision. To assay health, we quantify the worms’ aversive response to light and resistance to oxidative stress. We use these assays and machine vision tools to quantify healthspan and lifespan in an automated manner. To facilitate high-throughput analysis, we have developed a robotic plate handling system to periodically image up to 84,000 individually tracked worms. We are using this system to investigate the relationship between behavior and lifespan, compare the behavioral and survival characteristics of stress response and aging, and conduct genetic and chemical screens for aging phenotypes.
Dr. Mei Zhen
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Seminar Series