Behavior Experiments

Arisaka-Elegans Lab integrates the physics agenda with exploration of real-time observation of free living C. elegans in both 2D and 3D spaces. Strong emphasis is placed on learning physics from the real motion of live animals under external stimuli. We are first studying the fundamental “physical concepts” of space and time, velocity and acceleration in 2D/3D space by observing the motion of C. elegans. Next comes the application of external “physical stimulations” such as
  1. Light (UV, visible, IR)

  2. Electric Fields

  3. Magnetic Fields

  4. Temperature

  5. Mechanical Force (= Touch)

  6. Sound Wave

  7. Humidity

The response functions of C. elegans’ to these external stimuli will be recorded and analyzed. This process provides students with a deep understanding and appreciation towards the various physical modalities influencing organisms in their environment. Analyses of experimental results will enable students to propose conclusions concerning the response of biological function to physical stimuli. Thus, students themselves may begin to address major interdisciplinary questions; namely, how neural networks (commonly called the brain) arise from the genomic code due to the biophysical interaction of genomic and epigenomic factors.

Advanced Behavior Experiments

Our lab setups are designed to enable advancement to more challenging projects:
  1. Observation of C. elegans behavior and response in 3D space (including vertical motion)
  2. The same experiments but with specific mutants which impact their motion
  3. Stimulation of specific neurons by optogenetics to further investigate neural networks
  4. Observation of dynamical neural networks by Calcium imaging
  5. Development of physical models and their computer simulation in 2D and 3D
  6. Study of nonlinear dynamics relating to C. elegans neural networks and genomics
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