Guillermin, Manon L. (2013 - 2016)

Manon is in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics.  She joined the training program in 2013.  Her research mentor is Dr. Elissa Hallem.  She received a B.S. degree in 2009 at McGill University.

Mentor: Dr. Elissa Hallem

Research project:

The behavioral response of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to carbon dioxide (CO2) can be modulated by developmental stage and environmental context. Our research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms that regulate sensory behaviors using CO2 response by C. elegans as a model system. We have demonstrated that C. elegans adults avoid CO2, while C. elegans dauer larvae are attracted to CO2. I am identifying candidate genes that are differentially expressed at the dauer and adult stages to identify new molecular determinants of CO2 response valence, and provide insight into the developmental stage-dependent modulation of CO2 response. Additionally, I have demonstrated that the response of C. elegans adults to CO2 depends on ambient O2 levels. I have shown that the O2-sensing URX neurons mediate O2-dependent regulation of CO2 avoidance behavior. My goal is to further define the molecular mechanisms that underlie O2 regulation of CO2 behavior by testing the hypothesis that the URX neuropeptides encoded by the flp-8 and flp-19 loci are acting on either the CO2-sensing BAG neurons or the downstream RIG neurons. My research attempts to gain an understanding of the process whereby sensory input is translated into behavioral output. By elucidating the molecular mechanisms that modulate CO2 response in C. elegans, I hope to gain insight into how sensory neural circuits generate innate behaviors, and how such circuits can be modulated to produce context-dependent behavioral changes.