Event Title

Discovery of RNAi knockdowns prolonging lifespan in C. elegans using automated robotic platform

Session Number

Project ID: ENGN 4

Advisor(s)

Dr. Anthony Fouad; University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Chris Fang-Yen; University of Pennsylvania

Discipline

Engineering

Start Date

22-4-2020 9:10 AM

End Date

22-4-2020 9:25 AM

Abstract

The microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans (C. elegans) presents a sustainable and effective way to study aging. Besides from its fully mapped out genome, short life span, and accessibility, it shares a surprising amount of genetic similarity to humans. This makes it the ideal organism to model how aging works in more complex animals.

Current methods of aging experiments involving C. elegans have substantial room for optimization. Generally, methods involve manual stimulation of the worms that result in low-throughput and error-prone results. In this paper, we present a novel way of conducting aging experiments using an automated robotic imaging device. The robot longitudinally images the worms, which are placed in 24-well plates, to generate activity curves. Analyzing these activity curves allows us to draw up aging metrics to determine both lifespan and health span of the animal. Moreover, the robot is capable of imaging 100 plates, which makes the throughput significantly higher than any other method before.

Using RNA interference to knockdown specific genes, we discovered several novel RNAi phenotypes that elongate lifespan and/or healthspan in C. elegans. While there are many more genes to analyze and screen, the results show the value of automating aging experiments on a large scale.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 22nd, 9:10 AM Apr 22nd, 9:25 AM

Discovery of RNAi knockdowns prolonging lifespan in C. elegans using automated robotic platform

The microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans (C. elegans) presents a sustainable and effective way to study aging. Besides from its fully mapped out genome, short life span, and accessibility, it shares a surprising amount of genetic similarity to humans. This makes it the ideal organism to model how aging works in more complex animals.

Current methods of aging experiments involving C. elegans have substantial room for optimization. Generally, methods involve manual stimulation of the worms that result in low-throughput and error-prone results. In this paper, we present a novel way of conducting aging experiments using an automated robotic imaging device. The robot longitudinally images the worms, which are placed in 24-well plates, to generate activity curves. Analyzing these activity curves allows us to draw up aging metrics to determine both lifespan and health span of the animal. Moreover, the robot is capable of imaging 100 plates, which makes the throughput significantly higher than any other method before.

Using RNA interference to knockdown specific genes, we discovered several novel RNAi phenotypes that elongate lifespan and/or healthspan in C. elegans. While there are many more genes to analyze and screen, the results show the value of automating aging experiments on a large scale.