First Advisor

Dr. Bethany Lucas

Second Advisor

Dr. Allyson Sterling

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Dr. Amy Schrier & Dr. Lara Narcisi


Dr. Allyson Spence


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis University

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

61 pages


Since 2020, the immune system has become humankind’s most powerful weapon to the challenges we have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently, scientists throughout the world have combined their brilliant minds to explore how spectacular our immune system is, and we have found new components of its mechanism(s) and pathways. Among those components, Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) stand out for their important contribution to humans’ innate immune system. NETs have revolutionized the way scientists approach treatments for viral and bacterial infections. To understand NETs, I experimented with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to provide a better explanation and evidence on why these traps could become a key factor for modern medical treatments. A crucial topic covered in this thesis is the importance of the nematode C. elegans as a research model in medicine. I explained the advantages of choosing this organism over others, and why it could be exploited in the research community to perform research studies. Some advantages are, its simplicity and genetic tractability make it an excellent organism for genetic studies, while its transparency allows for the visualization of cellular processes and signaling pathways. C. elegans also has a well-characterized nervous system and shares many genetic and physiological similarities with humans, making it a relevant model for studying human diseases and drug discovery.


Additionally, C. elegans is inexpensive and easy to maintain in the laboratory, making it a valuable tool for large-scale genetic and chemical screens. Overall, C. elegans has become a widely used model organism in various fields of research, contributing to our understanding of biological processes and disease mechanisms. NETs are important for providing a more personalized approach to medicine. In this research, I aimed to investigate the presence of NETs in the model organism C. elegans. Although the study was limited in scope due to time constraints, the findings presented in this thesis provide valuable information that can aid future researchers in this area of study. The study of NETs has emerged as an important area of research, and the information presented in this thesis may serve as a foundation for further investigations into the role of NETs in C. elegans and their potential implications for broader biological processes.

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.