Seasons of Worms

Seasons of Worms

Eugene L.Q. Lee

Koch Institute at MIT, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT Department of Biology

As I have sat at my microscope watching the seasons change just outside the lab windows, so too do various images of worms under my microscope evoke and mirror the feeling of the seasons (the greenery of spring, sandy beaches of summer, falling leaves of autumn and icy cold of winter). These are pictures of C. elegans, a transparent nematode worm that we have studied and used to uncover many biological processes. The small size and transparency of C. elegans allows for easy visual observation of its physiological processes, morphology and behavior.

Observing worms under a dissecting scope forms the basic first step and foundation for any study involving C. elegans. These images were taken of worms in various contexts for a variety of projects. The two top images are scenes you observe when doing normal worm husbandry; the top right is a strain of worm (roller) defective in collagen and rolls in a circle constantly. The bottom right image is worms stained with Oil red O staining to visualize fat in studies of metabolism. The bottom left is of worms soaked in Prozac to investigate the mechanisms of Prozac action / find Prozac targets in biological pathways.

four panel view of worms under a microscope in green, yellow, blue, and red

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