An Undergraduate Laboratory Series Using C. elegans That Prepares Students for Independent Inquiry

Virginia Quinan, Kelly Hsu*, Molly Mann*, Kia Barclay and Deborah Bauer
Neuroscience Department, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481.
*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Undergraduate neuroscience laboratories provide valuable opportunities for students to learn about neurobiological systems through active learning. Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a valuable model for teaching students how to use a reductionist approach to neuroscientific inquiry. This series of lab modules trains students to utilize foundational laboratory techniques such as worm handling and maintenance, fluorescence imaging, behavioral assays, and Western blot. Upon completing this series of laboratory exercises, students are well prepared to engage in independent research projects using these research techniques. As supported by student survey results, this series of C. elegans laboratory exercises leads to the development of essential research skills, which students may be able to apply to a wide range of future scientific endeavors.