Tel Rouse

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1 year 6 months
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Thesis Project Title
A High-Throughput Microfluidic Platform for High-Content Learning Studies in C. elegans
Thesis Project Description

Insulin-like peptides (ILPs) have been shown to regulate neural plasticity in several organisms, as well as humans. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which ILPs regulate learning. Despite possessing a small nervous system, the model organism C. elegans is able to demonstrate various forms of learning (some of which have been shown to be regulated by several of the 40 ILPs in its genome). To investigate the roles of ILPs in the pathogenic learning network in C. elegans, I am working on a microfluidic testing platform which will offer improved sensitivity and control over traditional learning assay methods. High-throughput methodologies will be developed to deliver well-controlled spatiotemporal stimuli to a population, extract relevant behavioral features from the animals, and subsequently quantify learning phenotypes based on the temporal, feature-rich behavioral data. This work could lead to future drug targets for learning disorders.

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