NEMA 250 Seminar-Dennis Chang & Tiffany Baiocchi

Dennis Chang and Tiffany Baiocchi
1471 Boyce Hall, UC Riverside

The Department of Nematology's weekly NEMA 250 seminar series is presented this week by:

Dennis Chang, CMDB Graduate Student, UC Riverside 

Seminar Title: "Characterization of Excreted/Secreted Proteins from the Entomopathogenic Nematode Steinernema feltiae"

Biography: Dennis Chang received his BS in Cell & Molecular Biology from California State University, Sacramento in 2014 and began his graduate studies at the University of California, Riverside in Fall 2014. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Dillman lab studying the excreted/secreted products of Entomopathogenic Nematodes.


Tiffancy Baiocchi, BCMB Graduate Student, UC Riverside 

Seminar Title: "Avoidance, attraction and genes oh my! Using odors to identify neural circuitry and genes underlying nematode responses to prenol"

Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are beneficial parasites used in industrial agriculture as well as home garden use as a biological control agents against a variety of insect pests.  The infective juvenile (IJ) stage within the EPN life cycle, is the free-living stage; responsible for locating, infecting and colonizing a new insect host for the purpose of continue its life cycle and producing offspring. Our initial work investigated the behavioral aspects of IJ preferences for a host with regards to infection with conspecifics (same species). We performed analysis of the odor profiles of EPN-infected cadavers and identified six odors one of which was prenol (3-methyl-2-buten-1-ol). Prenol elicits a robust repulsion response in EPN IJs, however the molecular tools to identify the genetic mechanisms and neural circuitry behind this behaviour is not currently feasible in EPNs. To circumvent this lack of tools, we are using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to determine potential mechanisms by which nematodes may detect and respond to prenol. Through use of genetically-ablated neuron lines we have identified the AWC sensory neuron’s involvement with detection of prenol. To gain additional mechanistic insights on how nematodes detect and respond to prenol we have used the C. elegans Natural Diversity Resource (CeNDR) – which utilizes genome-wide association to identify genes which are involved with a phenotype of interest. Thus far we have identified 109 candidate genes and we are currently evaluating these genes for their involvement in the detection of/and response to prenol. Thus far we have identified two genes (Dcap-2 and Clec-39) which affect behavioral responses of C. elegans adults to odors that induce attraction- including attraction to prenol.

Contact Information
Margarita Flores
Target Audience
Students, Faculty, Staff, UCR Community
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