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Physics and Astronomy
2018 Project Proposal

Nonlinear Time Series of Live Diffraction Signals in C. elegans

Jenny Magnes (Physics and Astronomy)

Microorganisms locomotion is typically understood by taking a video of a moving microorganism under a microscope, then performing video analysis on the collected data. This method is time-consuming, computationally heavy and omits subtle components of the motion. Time dependent diffraction signals are a complementary method that speeds up aspects of the data collection and analysis. It maintains an accurate worm structure and reduces user error. 

Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes, or C. elegans, will be used to generate motion data. These nematodes are a model organism with a simple, bilaterally symmetrical structure that makes them ideal for the analysis of microscopic locomotion.

A spectral analysis of diffraction patterns generated by directing laser light at C. elegans in a cuvette will be conducted. A nonlinear time series analysis of nematode diffraction data will be analyzed for different phenotypes.  The Largest Lyapunov Exponents of quantifies the complexity of the motion and if motion of these nematodes is chaotic.          


Required: Intro physics, calculus, modern physics. 

Preferred: Intro bio, programming experience, experimental physics or bio experience      

How should students express their interest in this project?  The interested student should submit the application.  I may call the student for an interview if the student seems like a good fit. Priority is given to students that have taken courses with me.