WormBot Resources for Longevity and Healthspan

The WormBot is a hardware and software robotic microscopy screening platform designed for studying the behavior and survival analysis of the popular model organism C. elegans.

The WormBot was originally conceived in the Kaeberlein lab for high-throughput screening of survival experiments to be performed in alternative gas environments. However, the flexible nature of the system was attractive to other users and we were encouraged to release it to the wider worm community. Version 1 of the system is available as open access. The current version 3 has improved capabilities, including incubation, image quality, and stability, and is available as a service through the Core.

HALO assists investigators throughout the research community in quantifying a variety of C. elegans longevity and healthspan measures. This is accomplished through direct collaboration, training and outreach, and the development and dissemination of new tools and technologies such as the WormBot.

The focus on worms allows us to provide services and technologies to a large number of external investigators and thereby have a correspondingly large impact.  The data generated by this Core can often be correlated with high dimensional computational analyses and with the protein and metabolite phenotypes studied in the other Nathan Shock Center Cores. Invertebrate models are also highly accessible to junior investigators, and our Center pilot projects allow these investigators access to the full range of integrated services provided by the Center Resource Cores.

Alzheimer’s disease model animals expressing the human amyloid-beta gene at 25°C scored with the automated retrograde program.

Wild-type animals at 25°C scored with the automated retrograde program.

Example of a raw data file of animals at 20°C

Services Available:

The following services are available to all users.  Additional services may also be available and users are encouraged to contact the Core Director to discuss specific experimental details.  Typical costs are provided below for initial budget preparation and may be used for Pilot Project submissions, but in all cases final costs will be determined following consultation with Core personnel.

Caenorhabditis elegans WormBot Assay capabilities

  1. WormBot assays.  The Core will perform lifespan and healthspan assessments using the WormBot platform [1].  Cost: Estimated costs are $500 per plate.  Each plate can accommodate 12 experiments of 20-30 animals per experiment. 
  2. Healthspan measures.The Core will assay a variety of age-associated healthspan measures, including: motility, resistance to polyglutamine or amyloid beta toxicity, and reproductive capacity (brood size). Additional assays, including fluorescence reporter assays, may be available upon request. Cost:Cost will vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on services requested.
  3. Resistance/sensitivity to environmental or chemical stresses.  The core will perform survival assays in the presence of different environmental or chemical stressors upon request.  Cost:Cost will vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on services requested.

General and Other Services

WormBot System.  The Core will assist other groups in establishing a WormBot system in their own lab.  Cost is approximately $19,634 plus actual shipping and handling.  A fully constructed and functional WormBot is shipped and support is provided to establish the operational system in the lab.  Additional WormBot support is billed at $120/hr. 

Literature Cited:

  1. Pitt, J.N., et al., WormBot, an open-source robotics platform for survival and behavior analysis in C. elegans. Geroscience, 2019. 41(6): p. 961-973.

Core Personnel:

The Core is led by Matt Kaeberlein, Maitreya Dunham, and Alex Mendenhall