Seminar: Interplay of Multiple Inputs in Controlling the Systems Biology of C. elegans
Speaker: Assistant Professor Santosh Pandey
Date: September 12, 2011
Time: 1:10 to 2 p.m.
Location: 3041/3043 ECpE Building Addition
Abstract: Systems Biology is an exciting stream in biology that aims to understand the complex interactions between individual biological components. The holistic approach of systems biology is particularly well-suited to study small animal models, promising a new perspective to important processes in living systems such as development, aging, and adaptability. In this respect, Caenorhabditis elegans is a powerful model organism in systems biology with a fully-sequenced genome and a close genetic similarity to humans. As such, C. elegans are routinely used to study human diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
In this talk, I will present examples of the different C. elegans microchips being developed in our laboratory. These microchips allow us to control and manipulate the (chemical or electrical) microenvironment around the organism and characterize its behavioral responses. Compared to existing assays, our technique has significantly higher temporal and spatial resolution. An automated image-tracking program is developed to measure and extract relevant output parameters (e.g. body posture and movement) from each experiment. These experiments are run at real-time and with the flexibility of applying single or multiple inputs. An approach will be discussed to analyze and filter the large volume of experimental data, providing useful output information under different conditions. Our eventual goal is to model the ‘black-boxness’ of a behavioral trait and to predict how the genetic makeup produces distinct behavioral patterns in these organisms.
Speaker bio: Assistant Professor Santosh Pandey joined the ECpE department in August 2006. Prior to this, he graduated with a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Lehigh University. His research projects are aimed at developing micro-engineered platforms for manipulating and characterizing behavior of model organisms such as C. elegans, with implications to human diseases. His current research is funded by the National Science Foundation and is performed in the Bio/Nanoelectronics Laboratory of Coover Hall.