How do worms find a safe environment with food?

We found out that they use their brain to avoid bacteria that don’t protect them.

Read our paper to learn more!

Or better yet, join our lab! There are so many cool open questions that you could answer!…
Down in the microbial battlefield where worms are trying to find food, the weapon of choice is hydrogen peroxide.

We found out that worms assess faithfully the threat of hydrogen peroxide via sensory perception!

This project was an AMAZING collaboration, co-led by my grad student Jodie Schiffer (now @VertexPharma) and awesome undergraduate Stephanie Stumbur, with major contributions from gs @YuyanXu3, and @vvkvnkt, @_MikeOD_, and @microbeMinded labs. Image
We built on our previous work showing that sensory perception of E. coli helps the worm decide whether to induce their hydrogen peroxide defenses or use those of E. coli.

As we dig deeper and deeper onto how worms use sensory systems to deal with the ancient threat of H2O2, we are uncovering a rich biology linking damage, behavior, and physiology.

Join out team! Here are some of the directions where YOU could take this project!
We think that that H2O2 may have a more widespread role in regulating neuronal activity than we previously realized.

How is H2O2 sensed?

Why does H2O2 modulate so many neurons?

How do those neurons integrate H2O2 with other cues?
We'd love to know if physiological and pathological conditions modulate neuronal activity by affecting endogenous H2O2 levels.
We are amazed by how many neurons regulate the worm's resistance to H2O2 (ten classes and counting!)

How do these neurons communicate with target tissues? Do they work together?

What information do these neurons use to decide when to turn on the worm's defenses? and why?
We find that sensory neurons regulate the worm's behavior (fast) and physiology (slower) to deal with the lethal threat of H2O2.

How are the choices to escape, resist, and repair coordinated?
And how do the choices to escape, resist, and repair shape how each worm ages?

There are tons of cool questions to follow up on! (fin)

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More from @JavierApfeld

May 6, 2020
Hey twitterworld! I am super excited to share our new paper!

We show that worms use their brain to decide whether to induce their hydrogen peroxide defenses or use those of E. coli.

Thread. 1/
This project was led by my amazing graduate student Jodie Schiffer, with major help from gs Frank Servello and Xuyan Xu, and everyone in the lab, and collaborations with @nstroustrup1 and A. Ghazi’s labs. 2/ Image
For 100 years we’ve known that cells of all kinds are waging chemical warfare against each other.

Hydrogen peroxide is the weapon of choice on the microscopic battlefield! /3 Image
Read 33 tweets
Dec 30, 2019
This semester I shook up my Cell and Molecular Biology of Aging class by adding a Service-Learning component.

Thread. 1/
My 17 students spent over a hundred hours baking, painting nails, exercising, playing bingo, providing tech support, and socializing with seniors in six nearby assisted-living facilities.

Why? 2/
First, a bit about my class, which on the surface is about the recent scientific discoveries that transformed our understanding of aging.

But the real goal is to prepare upper-level undergrads and grad students for the post-graduation world. 3/
Read 18 tweets

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