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Development Of A Method For The Screening Of Inhibitors of αS Aggregation In A C. Elegans Model

College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Evidence shows a strong correlation between Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and Alpha Synuclein (αS) plaque formation in the brain. Additionally, αS has been linked to PD through a prion-like spread. A prion-like spread allows for the acceleration of the aggregation process and the disease. The prion-like spread does this by spreading to neighboring neurons, eventually leading to neuron cell death. Therefore, manipulating the aggregation of αS facilitated by the prion-like spread, could be a feasibly therapeutic intervention towards PD. This project aimed to create a protocol for examining various inhibitors of the prion-like spread of Alpha Synuclein in C. Elegans. This was done via the ARENA system which analyzed the motility difference between the Wildtype (WT) and PD model of C. elegans. The results indicated that the PD model had significantly lower motility than the WT. These results have the implication of establishing the protocol for the screening of therapeutic ligands in a living system which has the potential of being used to screen inhibitors of proteins aggregation that are associated to other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.


Q: Have you ever published or presented research anywhere or are you currently working towards publishing/ presenting somewhere? 

A: Yes, I am in the process of publishing results on another project I am working on.

Q: What went well during your research? What would you do differently if you were able to start again?

A: I would increase my exposure to other novel projects in order to increase my skill set.

Q: What did you learn from doing your research? Did you develop any specific new skills?

A: I learned how to deal with new work environments. A skill I learned was the handling of C. elegans, given they are a great tool for research and there are only a few labs at DU that utilize them.

Q: How, if at all, does this research experience fit into your future goals or plans? Has it clarified or helped you take steps towards achieving your career goals?

A: I would like to become a geriatric physician. This experience has allowed me to have access to the research side of various diseases that affect older populations.

Q: Has your research helped you develop your professional and academic network?

A: Yes, during the summer I was able to get in contact with Ann Wehman at DU. Her research is solely on C. elegans so she helped me gain insight on them. Additionally, I was tasked with contacting various representatives for different C. elegan related tasks.