Munich Researchers Use WormLab to Study Blast Effects on C. elegans


Explosions can tear apart buildings, send shrapnel flying, and hurtle humans into the air. But explosions also cause damage in ways that aren’t as visually apparent. Scientists say the force of a blast can cause brain damage, but questions linger about how the symptoms that emerge after a blast-induced traumatic brain injury are connected to the initial trauma.

In their quest to learn more about how symptoms emerge after a traumatic blast, researchers at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, in Munich, Germany have developed an animal model of blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (br-mTBI) using C. elegans – a popular model organism alternative to vertebrate animals.

In their study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, the research team used WormLab to analyze thousands of worms. They found that shockwaves either slowed the worms’ movements or rendered them paralyzed. Symptoms played out in a dose-dependent manner, meaning that worms exposed to a higher number of shockwaves displayed a higher severity of symptoms.

Continue reading “Munich Researchers Use WormLab to Study Blast Effects on C. elegans” »

Mutations in a TRP ion channel cause dopaminergic cell loss in C. elegans


Tracking C. elegans with WormLab

Researchers have identified two strains of mutant C. elegans that lose the majority of their dopaminergic neurons in adulthood, a characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The two strains of mutant C. elegans (ot337 and ot477) showed normal development of dopaminergic neurons, however these neurons began to progressively decline in adulthood; and the deterioration was not an occurrence of the normal aging process, the authors say in their paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

After mapping the worms’ entire genome sequence, the researchers pinpointed the site of the mutation – the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) mechanosensory channel trp-4 – a mutation that has not previously been implicated in dopaminergic neuron death.

“We describe here a novel Caenorhabditis elegans mutant with robust and progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons during postembryonic development,” the authors say in their paper. “We show that a single amino acid substitution in a TRP channel is responsible for the phenotype, implicating mutations in TRP family channels as a direct cause of dopaminergic degeneration for the first time.”

Continue reading “Mutations in a TRP ion channel cause dopaminergic cell loss in C. elegans” »

Researchers use WormLab to reveal that nicotine addiction is heritable in C. elegans

Interacting Worms

Smokers aren’t only hurting themselves, they’re also hurting their children and grandchildren. So says a study published last month in the EXCLI Journal.

Scientists at East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina saw unusual behavior in C. elegans roundworms exposed to nicotine at an early stage of development. But that’s not all – the researchers also witnessed abnormal behavior and withdrawal symptoms in subsequent generations of worms even though these groups were not directly exposed to nicotine. Continue reading “Researchers use WormLab to reveal that nicotine addiction is heritable in C. elegans” »

Discover new worm tracking tools at the International C. elegans Meeting

19th C. elegansMBF Bioscience will be at the 19th International C. elegans meeting from Thrusday, June 27 to Saturday, June 29, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Visit booth #110 to talk to our worm tracking experts and to try out the latest tools for worm tracking. We will have the latest version of WormLab to easily track the behavior of your worms and our new plate illuminator and camera stand to capture high-contrast videos of your worms for analysis.

Staff Scientist Julie Korich, Ph.D. and Jeff Sprenger, Vice President of R&D, will be at booth #110 to show you how to easily and accurately analyze the locomotory behavior of C. elegans with WormLab.

To learn how WormLab tracks and analyzes worms, or to download a free trial, please visit our website.

Watch our WormLab Webinar Video

Our latest webinar “Introduction to WormLab” is now available for streaming. Go to our website to watch Dr. Susan Hendricks and Vice President Jeff Sprenger demonstrate WormLab, our new software for tracking and analyzing the behavior of C. elegans.

Find out more about how WormLab can help with your research by visiting our WormLab page at  Contact us for a free trial or for a quote!

To find out about upcoming webinars, like MBF Bioscience on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Register for Thursday’s WormLab Webinar

Learn how to use WormLab, our new software for tracking and analyzing the movement of C. elegans by taking our free webinar, Thursday, May 10, at 12pm EDT. Staff Scientist Dr. Susan Hendricks and Vice President of Research and Development Jeffrey Sprenger will lead an hour-long practical demonstration that will include:

• the detection, tracking, and analysis of single or multiple worms, even during interaction events;

•  viewing the many metrics and behaviors that are automatically calculated, including worm count, speed, direction, reversals, and omega bends;

•  capturing videos of worms on agar plates; and automatically loading and analyzing these videos.

Released last month, WormLab is a user-friendly new tool that facilitates the analysis of C. elegans locomotive behavior. Our Introduction to WormLab webinar will provide an excellent overview to the software, while providing current and prospective users an opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

Please register in advance for the free webinar, and visit the WormLab page on our website for more information about the software and to watch a video demonstration.


Magnified: C. Elegans Captured with Lumenera CMOS Camera

MBF Bioscience Vice President of Research Jeff Sprenger captured this exceptional image of c.elegans worms while testing out the Lumenera CCD Lu135M digital camera. He was working with our new WormLab software, which is set for release next week. Here Jeff shares the details about how he captured the image:

This image was captured on our experimental WormLab setup, using a macro-imaging stand and setup devised here at MBF Bioscience. The c. elegans worms are trapped in a drop of liquid on an agar plate (60mm petri dish). We’re testing a Lumenera CCD Lu135M digital camera, using an exposure time of 120 ms and gain of 2.0X with no gamma adjustment for this image. The lens is a Canon Macro zoom MPE-65mm, with c-mount adapter. The light source is an MBF Bioscience LED light plate, with a custom diaphragm and polarizing filter to increase contrast. 

WormLab, software for tracking crawling microscopic worms, is set for official release next week. C. elegans (caenorhabditis elegans) are commonly used by geneticists and neuroscientist to study life span, regulation of metabolism, behavior and development.

Learn more about WormLab on our website.

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Upcoming MBF Bioscience Software WormLab Facilitates C. elegans Research

It’s tiny, it’s translucent, and it’s one of the simplest organisms with a nervous system. Measuring in at just one millimeter long, the roundworm C. elegans is a researcher’s superstar.

Used by scientists around the world to study degenerative diseases, the worm played a leading role in an opera in the Netherlands and inspired a British engineer’s search and rescue robot. Just last month, a wealth of new opportunities opened up when scientists redesigned the worm’s genetic code by adding a synthetic amino acid.

With C. elegans becoming so beneficial to biological research, we’re pleased to be working on WormLab™, a fully supported software solution for tracking, quantifying, and analyzing freely moving C. elegans, which will be available this fall.

“A number of researchers familiar with the quality of our software for neuron tracing and stereology came to us looking for a solution for analyzing C. elegans behavior,” said MBF Bioscience President Jack Glaser. “The more we looked into this field, the more apparent it became that there was a need for good software.”

Its genome has been sequenced, its cells have been mapped. And with the release of WormLab™ this fall, new software for tracking its behavior will significantly improve the productivity of scientists using C. elegans in their research.

Learn more about specific capabilities of WormLab™ on our website where you’ll also find a link to our video demonstrations.