UROP Fellowship: Community College Summer Fellowship Program
Henry Ford College
Research Mentor(s): Matthias Truttman, PhD, Nicholas Urban, PhD Pre-Candidate
Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Presentation Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 | Session 3 | Presenter: 8
Authors: Yasmeen Berry, Brandon Vang, Nicholas Urban, Matthias Truttmann
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a common, inexpensive model organism. Due to its genetic versatility and short lifespan, C. elegans has proven to be a powerful tool for studying the in vivo effects of genetic targets, biological compounds, and environmental factors on aging and longevity. However, it has become apparent that wild type C. elegans (N2) as experimental controls exhibit a surprising variability in the average lifespan of nematodes among different experiments. With the cause of this phenomenon unknown, there is a dire need to understand the underlying mechanisms influencing N2 lifespan variability. We hypothesized that slight alterations in experimental setup and conditions (so-called “soft features”) are the cause of this phenomenon. To test this hypothesis, a two-pillar approach was used to collect data for meta-analysis: (1) through the use of manual data extraction from primary literature, recording a wide range of parameters such as laboratory location, growth medium, temperature organisms were cultivated, seasonal information, and survival analysis results, and (2) a questionnaire sent directly to laboratories asking for more detailed information on animal handling, storage, and raw data. Although data-collection and analysis are ongoing, preliminary observations have revealed an astounding lack of reported protocol details in published primary literature. This further emphasizes the need for a more detailed and standardized report of lifespan experimental protocols to increase experimental reproducibility. Future goals will be to recapitulate the significant findings of the meta-analysis in the laboratory. Altogether, the outcomes of this study will strengthen the results of future assays and help curate a standardized C. elegans lifespan assay protocol for use in a specialized research community.