Apr. 12, 2024

Midwest C. elegans Meeting

The 2024 Midwest C. elegans Meeting will be held April 12, 2024, at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. The program will feature a keynote by Eric L. Greer, Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine, talks by researchers across the C. elegans field and a poster session.

There is no cost to attend. Registration is required. The deadline for poster abstracts is March 4, 2024. Registration closes April 5, 2024.

Opening Remarks and Keynote Introduction

9:00 am  - 9:05 am

Nick Burton, Ph.D.

Van Andel Institute

Nick Burton, Ph.D.

Keynote Address

9:05 am  - 10:05 am

Eric Greer, Ph.D.

Washington University School of Medicine

Role of ribosome heterogeneity in aging and inheritance

10:05 am  - 10:30 am

Coffee break

Session 1

10:30 am  - 10:45 am

Laura Bahr, M.S.

Ghazi Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Laura Bahr, M.S.

TCER-1 regulates lipid deposition to promote embryonic health upon maternal infection

10:45 pm  - 11:00 am

Kelsie Nauta, Ph.D.

Burton Laboratory, Van Andel Institute

Kelsie Nauta, Ph.D.

Aberrant polyamine production by intestinal bacteria antagonizes animal development and mitochondrial function

11:00 am  - 11:15 am

Nicholas Urban, B.S.

Truttmann Laboratory, University of Michigan

Nicholas Urban, B.S.

Two BiP or not two BiP? The roles of C. elegans’ BiP orthologs in proteostasis and aging

11:15 am  - 11:30 am

Matthew Wirick

Karp Laboratory, Central Michigan University

Matthew Wirick

daf-16/FOXO coordinates dauer formation and adult cell fate in hypodermal seam cells

11:30 am  - 12:30 pm


12:30 pm  - 2:00 pm

Poster Session

Session 2

2:00 pm  - 2:15 pm

Honorine Destain

Kratsios Laboratory, University of Chicago

Maintenance of adult neuronal identity through opposing inputs on a single transcription factor

2:15 pm  - 2:30 pm

Md Zubayer Hossain Saad

Bamber Laboratory, University of Toledo

Md Zubayer Hossain Saad

Olfactory combinatorial coding supports risk-reward decision-making in C. elegans

2:30 pm  - 2:45 pm

Manasa Prahlad

Kratsios Laboratory, University of Chicago

Hox factors generate motor neuron diversity along the antero-posterior axis in C. elegans

2:45 pm  - 3:00 pm

Napissara Boonpraman, Ph.D.

Sammi Laboratory, Michigan State University

Napissara Boonpraman, Ph.D.

Differential effects of Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon and their metabolites on mitochondrial complex activity and dopaminergic neurotoxicity

3:00 pm  - 3:30 pm

Coffee Break

Session 3

3:30 pm  - 3:45 pm

Angela Tuckowski

Leiser Laboratory, University of Michigan

Angela Tuckowski

Characterizing the role of fmo-4 in C. elegans longevity

3:45 pm  - 4:00 pm

Zhiyong Zhang

Xu Laboratory, University of Michigan

Zhiyong Zhang

Shear stress sensing in C. elegans

4:00 pm  - 4:15 pm

Filipe Marques

Kratsios Laboratory, University of Chicago

Filipe Marques, Ph.D.

Gene regulatory logic of interneuron identity within a mechanosensory circuit

4:15 pm  - 4:30 pm

Rebecca Cox, Ph.D.

Leiser Laboratory, University of Michigan

4:30 pm  - 5:00 pm

Closing remarks and poster awards

Associate Professor, Genetics and Genomic Medicine,
Washington University School of Medicine

Eric Greer is an Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Before joining Wash U, Eric was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Greer obtained his B.A. from CWRU and his Ph.D. from Stanford for work done in the lab of Dr. Anne Brunet. During his graduate work he did some of the first work to identify the molecular basis for how dietary restriction, a reduction in nutrients without starvation, can extend lifespan. He also demonstrated that chromatin modifications, particular histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation, could regulate lifespan in C. elegans. Eric did his postdoctoral training in Dr. Yang Shi’s lab at Harvard Medical School. As a post-doc Eric found that members of the H3K4 trimethylation complex he had identified as a graduate student that regulated lifespan, not only regulated longevity in the parental generation, but also in a transgenerational manner for 3 additional generations. During his post-doc Eric began to decipher how non-genetic information is transmitted from ancestors to their descendants. In this search he identified a novel form of DNA modification in metazoan, methylation on adenines, that might be responsible for stable transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. The Greer lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of epigenetics.  The lab focuses on 1) identifying what heritable non-genetic cues are inherited across generations, 2) examining the role of chromatin and epitranscriptomic modifications in regulating cellular processes and how dysregulation of epigenetic mechanisms causes developmental defects and diseases to arise, 3) identifying and characterizing new epigenetic modifications and the enzymes that add, remove, and recognize these modifications and what their role is in regulating a variety of biological processes and 4) examining the role of epigenetics in the evolution of multicellularity.

Doctoral Candidate, Lab of Dr. Arjumand Ghazi,
University of Pittsburgh

Laura Bahr is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, in the lab of Dr. Arjumand Ghazi. She uses the nematode C. elegans to investigate the relationship between immunity and reproduction. Her project focuses on identifying genes which regulate lipid metabolism to ensure reproductive success during maternal infection.

Postdoctoral Associates,
Michigan State University
Ph.D. candidate, Kratsios Lab
University of Chicago

I am a 4th year graduate student in the Kratsios Lab at the University of Chicago. The Kratsios Lab studies the development and degeneration of motor neurons in multiple models, including C. elegans. My project focuses on the gene regulatory networks involved in ensuring appropriate post-mitotic neuronal identity in C. elegans.

Postdoctoral Scholar,
University of Chicago
My name is Filipe Marques, a fourth-year postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago. I graduated from the University of Minho (Portugal) with a bachelor’s degree in applied biology and a master’s degree in biotechnology and bio-entrepreneurship in aromatic and medicinal plants. After, I have worked as a research assistant in a neuroscience project, in which I was introduced to C. elegans model organism. Since then, I’m using the power of the worm and decided to pursue my Ph.D. studies in Switzerland, where I received a doctoral degree in neuroscience from the University of Fribourg. In my Ph.D. work, I have used optogenetics to obtain new insights into the molecular mechanisms modulating nociception circuit function. My research experience allowed me to build a comprehensive knowledge of genetics, molecular biology, and neuroscience. Currently, my postdoctoral work focus is to better understand the molecular mechanisms of neuron development.
I’m a positive person that believes discipline, hard work and teamwork are the ingredients for success. My family, particularly my parents, are my daily inspiration. In my free time, I enjoy practicing sports, playing games, and exploring the world
Postdoctoral Fellow, Burton Lab,
Van Andel Institute
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toledo

Md Zubayer Hossain Saad earned his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Pune, India, in 2011, followed by a Master’s in Pharmacology-Toxicology from the University of Toledo, Ohio, in 2016. His master’s research focused on investigating the role of the TRP ion channel, PKD1, in the pathophysiology of hypertension in polycystic kidney disease. After obtaining his Master’s degree, Zubayer joined the laboratory of Jianyang Du at the University of Toledo as a Research Assistant, where he explored the impact of ASIC1a-mediated synaptic activity enhancement on fear memory. He then commenced his Ph.D. in the same laboratory, dedicating his research to the electrophysiological characterization of the TRPM3 ion-channel, significant for its implications in pregnenolone-mediated memory enhancement. Later, Zubayer transferred to Bruce Bamber’s lab within the same department for his Ph.D. dissertation, conducting whole-brain analyses on C. elegans and discovering novel principles of sensory-motor processing. Anticipated to graduate with his Ph.D. in May 2024, Zubayer is set to further his contributions to the field of systems neuroscience through post-doctoral/scientist positions.

Ph.D. Candidate, Leiser Lab,
University of Michigan

Angela is currently a 5th year Ph.D. student in Dr. Scott Leiser’s lab at University of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Drexel University in 2015 and, upon graduation, began working at Janssen Pharmaceutical as an Associate Scientist. Angela worked at Janssen for four years and gained experience in antibody drug discovery, cell line development, genetic characterization, and assay optimization. In pursuit of higher education and to expand her skillsets, Angela left Janssen in 2019 and joined Dr. Scott Leiser’s lab where she studies stress response and metabolism in the context of aging.

Ph.D Candidate, Lab of Dr. Matthias Truttmann,
University of Michigan

Nicholas is currently a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Matthias Truttmann’s lab at the University of Michigan. He was an NCAA student-athlete at Grand Valley State University, where he joined Dr. Ruijie Liu’s laboratory and studied how dual specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) affect extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK-1/2) signaling in the mouse heart. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science with a minor in Chemistry in 2019. After graduation, he joined the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan and began his dissertation work in Dr. Matthias Truttmann’s lab in spring 2020. His work focuses on chaperone biology and post-translational modification’s which affect protein homeostasis (proteostasis) in the context of aging.

Ph.D. Candidate, Lab of Dr. Xantha Karp
Central Michigan University
Ph.D. student, Xu Lab
Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan

Poster abstracts may be submitted during registration. During registration, please indicate if you would like your abstract considered for an oral presentation. If you plan to participate in the poster session but do not want to be considered for an oral presentation, please select the “poster session” option during registration. The deadline for poster abstracts is March 4, 2024.

For questions, please contact Courtney Zirkle.

Abstract format
Submitted abstracts should represent original research. The title should be brief and descriptive, and the body should include rationale, methods and results. Please prepare abstracts using the below template.

Poster dimensions
Posters should be 60 in. x 40 in. Pushpins will be provided.

Questions regarding abstract submission, posters, or the poster session can be directed to Courtney Zirkle.


Presenting Author1,2, Other Author1, and Last Author1,3(Style = Authors)

1First Dept., Institution, City, State, Country, 2Second Dept., Institution, City, State, Country, and 3Last Dept., Institution, City, State, Country (Style = Affiliations)

Body of abstract using 300 words or less. Define each abbreviation at first use. All fonts should be Arial, 11 pt. and text should be single-spaced. Once you have filled in this template, choose File>Save As and save your file as a Word document (.doc or .docx) with the filename lastname_abstract. (Style = Body)



Nick Burton1

1Department of Metabolic and Nutritional Programming, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, United States

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Assistant Professor, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming,
Van Andel Institute

Assistant Professor, Translational Neuroscience,
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

When and where is the 2024 C. elegans Meeting?
The meeting will be held April 12, 2024, at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Is there a cost to register?
There is no cost to attend. Registration is required and may be completed here.

Can I register a group?
Yes, the registration form allows one person to register for a group. Once registration is complete for one person, please click “add person” in the bottom right corner of the form. Input the second person’s information and continue in this manner until all parties in the group are registered.

Where do I park?
There is metered parking around VAI as well as several parking garages. Please see the link below for parking options.

Parking near Van Andel Institute.

What if I need accessible parking?
Please contact Courtney Zirkle to discuss any accessibility needs.

Event Details

Venue: Van Andel Institute 333 Bostwick Ave. NE Grand Rapids

Contact Info:

Email: Courtney Zirkle