Research in developmental biology often uses model organisms with low cost, rapid generation time, and large genetic and molecular toolkits, to understand conserved principles of morphogenesis and ultimately gain insights into mechanisms of human disease. High-throughput automated analyses of developmental phenotypes at the cellular level promise to greatly accelerate this task, but have been challenging to implement.
Here, we propose to develop a microfluidic platform for automated whole-organism phenotyping of post-embryonic development at cellular resolution in Caenorhabditis elegans based on long-term 4D confocal microscopy and automated whole-organism cell tracking. To showcase our technology, over the course of this project, we will investigate how coordinated cellular behaviors (cell divisions, migrations etc.) involving several tissues, give rise to the C. elegans egg-laying apparatus.
Our goal is to make this system a marketable platform that will become an indispensable tool for C. elegans researchers around the world.