Chasing Traps in Tiny Worms: Uncovering the Presence of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Caenorhabditis elegans
Dr. Bethany Lucas
Dr. Allyson Sterling
Thesis Committee Member(s)
Dr. Amy Schrier & Dr. Lara Narcisi
Dr. Allyson Spence
Thesis - Open Access
Number of 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
© Diego Carrasco
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Carrasco, Diego, "Chasing Traps in Tiny Worms: Uncovering the Presence of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Caenorhabditis elegans" (2023). Regis University Student Publications (comprehensive collection). 1071.