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Microscopic Meme Series: C. elegans Shaking off the Winter Blues

Spring has sprung and everyone is feeling it! In honour of the first day of spring, take a look at small worm C. elegans under a microscope, shaking off the winter blues.

Lesley MacNeil, IIDR member and Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, uses C. elegans to study environmental effects on the nervous system.

“This is a thrashing assay, which provides a measure of motility. What you are seeing is what worms with a properly functioning nervous system do when they are in liquid,” MacNeil explains. “This assay relates to one of our projects looking at how bacterial factors affect health and maintenance of the nervous system during aging.”

You may not believe it, but humans possess some biological characteristics that are similar to these squirmy critters. “Worms and humans have many of the same cellular pathways, and many biological processes are controlled in the same way by the same proteins, MacNeil adds, “so, we are using worms as a tool to learn about humans.”