Faculty Advisor

Srinivasan, Jagan


Internal processes which govern choice-driven behaviors are complex and remain largely unclear. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans detects hundreds of small molecules to aid in surviving its habitat, rendering it a strong model system for elucidating these mechanisms. Octopamine Succinyl Ascaroside #9 (osas#9) is a pheromone which is released by starved larvae, indicating that an area lacks food. When individuals sense this molecule, they avoid the area by undergoing an innate avoidance motor program. In the presence of osas#9 and the food source E. coli; C. elegans does not perform an avoidance response, suggesting that food negates the osas#9 aversive cue. A dose response curve was generated for the metabolite, and the neuron responsible for detecting the metabolite was identified.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2015


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology