Navigation Links
How a worm became a swim model

WASHINGTON, D.C. Oct. 11, 2013 -- One might wonder why researchers would even care about the nuances of the one-millimeter long nematode worm, let alone take the time to study them. But the answer is simple: they can provide powerful insights into human health and disease.

New research performed at Texas Tech University and published in the journal Physics of Fluids demonstrates just that. By studying how this tiny worm swims, the researchers hope to provide insights into applications from drug screening to setting the stage for designing smart soft robots.

Why the Worm?

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has long been an important organism in biology and medicine labs. It was at the center of three Nobel Prize winning investigations, and biologists routinely use this worm for studies that range from genetics, to behavior and neurobiology, to disease pathogenesis. Its genome was one of the first to be fully mapped, and at least 50% of its genes are similar to those found in humans. In addition, though its nervous system is nowhere near as complex as the human's, a complete map of its 302 neurons with 7,000 connections is known. Since a library of mutants where genes are knocked out is also available, C. elegans has become a powerful model for screening drugs, including ones for neurological diseases like Parkinson's.

The basic idea behind drug screening is to expose different worms to different drugs and see what happens. Since swimming is one of the worm's main observable behaviors, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the nematode's motion in various mechanical environments is very important for developing a sensitive screen to test drug compounds that affect nerve cells or muscles and may, for example, help alleviate symptoms for people with incurable diseases.

A precise model of the nematode's swimming patterns will lead to better drug screening and will also enable reverse engineering of the worm's neural system, explained Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, one of the authors of the new study.

"The worm executes a finite set of body shapes," he said. "We have described these gaits mathematically, and now we have combined the gait models with accurate models of the flow generated by the nematode body during swimming. This unique approach has led us to determine the dependence of swimming velocity on the form of the gait and allowed us to model the turning maneuvers of the worm." The next step is to develop locomotion models that combine the reported hydrodynamic analysis with a new description of neuromuscular control of the nematode body.

Blawzdziewicz and his collaborator Siva Vanapalli are enthusiastic about the prospects. "Our future quantitative studies of nematode navigation through complex environments will benefit analyses of the behavioral response of nematodes exposed to compounds affecting neurons or muscles in drug screening assays. Moreover, we anticipate that our studies may find applications in engineering of smart, millimeter-scale soft robots."


Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
American Institute of Physics

Related biology technology :

1. Sudanese 'lost Boy' Who Became Finance Minister to Receive Prestigious Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins
2. MD Biosciences Publishes the Characterization of a Porcine Model of Post-operative Or Incisional Pain in the European Journal of Pain
3. Medtech companies urged to evolve business model to survive
4. Affordable Stepper Motor Stage, Model M-406 from Physik Instrumente PI
5. First animal model of adult-onset SMA sheds light on disease progression & treatment
6. MD Biosciences Offers IL-23-Induced Psoriasis-Like Preclinical Model for Skin Inflammation
7. PI Releases High Power Piezo Amplifier to Drive Adaptive Structures, Fast Tool Servos, Vibration Cancellation Systems – Model E-482
8. Kitware Receives Funds from U.S. Air Force Research Lab to Extend the Bender Toolkit for Anatomical Model Repositioning
9. San Antonio Investigators Report on Mountain Cedar Allergy Model
10. XY Precision Positioning Stage Provides Nanometer Incremental Motion in a Small Package: PI introduces Affordable 2-Axis Piezo Positioner, Model P-763
11. InstantGMP Announces Addition of Cost and Pricing Model to Electronic Batch Records in Their Manufacturing Execution System
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Pittcon is pleased ... technical presentations offered in symposia, oral sessions, workshops, awards, and posters. The ... range of applications such as, but not limited to, biotechnology, biomedical, drug discovery, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced ... stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in an effort to ... (NOLs) under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code ... PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could be substantially limited ... in Section 382 of the Code. In general, an ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; ... and prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the ... recently received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC ... of the final interim efficacy and safety data ... in men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) ... research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing ... lower margins but higher volume share for the ... and scale, however, margins in the CRO industry ... (CRO) Market ( ), finds that ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into ... and Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based ... tools. The partnership will support the institute,s efforts ... chemical research information internally and with external collaborators. ... for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound ...
(Date:11/11/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor of ... to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings of ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... NEW YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... refers to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify ... prevent fraud. Signature is considered as the secure ... for the identification of a particular individual because ... offers more accurate results especially when dynamic signature ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):