Update 6/28 – Tylor

So far, Hannah and I have been spending a lot of time trying to find an effective way to expose the worms to ascarosides. First, we tried adding the ascarosides to the plates before adding the egg prep. Hannah had previously tried mixing them into the agar, with no luck. Since then we have tried adding them on top of the agar and letting it dry, mixing them into the OP50 before we seeded the plates, and both at once. Still, none of the worms entered dauer. Now I’m in the midst of a different approach: liquid culture! There might be a couple of nice perks to using this method if it works out for me: I can easily get a large sample size, and I’ll know exactly the concentration of ascarosides the worms are exposed to. One minor downside is that liquid cultures can be more prone to contamination which would be a bummer, so I’ll have to be pretty careful about using sterile technique every step of the way.

I have the first batch on the shaker right now. We should know in a day or two if it is a success!

Here’s to hoping! 🙂

About my Summer Project- Tylor

This summer I am picking up where Hannah left off on a project she worked on during her rotation here (with her guidance 🙂 ). I’ll be studying sex differences in entry and exit from dauer. For anyone who is unfamiliar with dauer, it is an alternative larval stage that young c. elegans enter in the face of certain stressors, such as high population density and limited food. Worms entering dauer undergo morphological and physiological changes that allow them to survive up to several months in poor conditions.  Hopefully, I’ll also have the chance to look at the potential roles of three different pathways known to be involved in the regulation of dauer arrest: the guanalyl cyclase pathway, the TGFβ-like pathway, and the insulin-like pathway. I hope to be able to do this by inducing dauer arrest using identified components of dauer pheromone (a blend of ascarosides 2 and 3), and by observing entry and exit from dauer in him-5 and potentially daf-11, daf-7, and daf-2 single mutants.

Currently, we’re just working on adapting a procedure used by Srinivasan et al., 2008 in which they were able to induce dauer arrest using different combinations of ascarosides 2, 3, and 4 with varying success. So far, it looks like this will definitely take some trial and error!

Check back in a few days to hear about my newest successes (and otherwise)!


Project Update

This past week I began scoring the prab-3::dmd-6 worms that were injected last week for odr-10 expression. Once my ptdc-1 worms are grown out, most likely this upcoming Monday, I will begin to score those as well. It’s exciting to finally be getting some data and seeing this project move in the right direction.

I set up the cross that I wrote about last week and as it turns out it’ll be a little bit more difficult to determine whether or not it was successful. As of right now it seems as if it worked and I should be able to begin observing dmd-6 expression in AWA next week.

My project this summer!

For my project this summer I will be looking at dmd genes and the how they effect expression of odr-10 in C. elegans. Previous research has shown that these genes play a role in the determining the sexual state in the nervous system, but a better understanding of it all is still needed. I will also be trying to confirm that dmd-6 is not expressed in AWA. Thus far I have been working on gateway cloning and initially had some struggles, but this past week I have been successful! In this upcoming week I am planning on setting up a genetic cross in order to determine if dmd-6 is being expressed in AWA.


These past two weeks alone I have already learned so many new skills and techniques that will be incredibly useful in the near future. I really look forward to seeing how my summer project progresses and keeping you guys updated weekly with all of my successes and (hopefully very few) failures!

A little bit about me! – Tylor

Hi there!

I’m Tylor, an undergrad who’s excited to be doing research in the Portman lab this summer! I study Biology at Siena College, and will graduate next Spring. Though I entered undergrad with the goal of going to med school, working in Dr. Adam Mason’s lab inspired me to consider grad school for research. This summer I hope to gain research experience and pick up some new skills, as well as form a better understanding of what grad school might be like and whether it’s the right path for me. I look forward to getting to know the other lab members and working on something a bit different from projects I’ve done in the past.

I’ll post updates on my project every so often, so feel free to check back to see what I’m up to!

Getting to know me

My name is Connor Schroyer and I am a rising senior at Ithaca College in New York. I am a Biology major and Mathematics minor. This past semester I worked in Te-Wen Lo’s lab with C. elegans and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity this summer to continue expanding my knowledge and conducting research with this model organism. Through this summer research program I hope to even further understand C. elegans and learn skills and techniques that will be useful this upcoming school year in my individual research project and into the future when I’ll ideally move on to grad school. At Ithaca I am also a member of the Men’s Swim Team so a lot of my time outside of class or lab is spent at the pool. In the free time I do have, I enjoy going for hikes around Ithaca’s numerous State Park’s and attending concerts whenever possible.

Congratulations, Hannah!

Congrats to second-year grad student Hannah Steinert, who passed her qualifying exam today! Word has it that Hannah nailed the defense of her proposal, which focuses on the genetic mechanisms that control developmental maturation of the C. elegans male nervous system. Well done, Hannah!