Midwestern Midwestern Plant Extracts Impact Biomarkers of Aging in Caenorhabditis elegans

Irving Barrera-Lopez Earlham College, Lobsang Palmo Earlham College, Minhwa Choi Earlham College, Raven McCree Earlham College, Evelyn Sanchez Earlham College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Courtney Scerback Earlham College
Aging occurs to all of us, yet this phenomenon is not fully understood. The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans is ideal for screening for bioactive molecules and for researching mechanisms of aging. Many signaling pathways in these animals are regulators of homeostatic pathways that respond to stress and aging, including transcription factors (e.g. daf-16), protein-folding chaperones (e.g. hsp16.2), and antioxidant proteins (e.g. gst-4). In this project, we tested the impact of extracts from local medicinal plants, including Solidago canadensis, Plantago major, and Ginkgo biloba, on stress response in C.elegans populations, as a proxy of the aging process. We used screening methods including survival to cold- and heat-stress and activation of signaling pathways using fluorescent microscopy. The preliminary results suggest a modified stress response in the populations treated with Solidago canadensis, but not with the other plants at the doses tested. Future projects include screening for effects of medicinal plant treatments on paralysis and on maintenance of aging cell types, including muscles and neurons. In summary, this project builds on our understanding of the molecular and biochemical basis of aging through the lens of plants valued as foods and medicines in the Midwestern United States.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library Lower Level