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Kirienko Lab     - we work with worms -


Contact Information

Skype: kirienkolab
Email: kirienko@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-2581
Office: GRB Hall, W200N

Kirienko Lab

Caenorhabditis elegans

We use the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to study the conserved mechanisms (immune and otherwise) that are used by the organism to defend itself against abiotic (i.e., environmental) and biological (i.e., pathogenic) stresses. C. elegans is a small, bacteriovorous nematode. It offers several invaluable traits for the modern biomedical researcher, including its small size (allowing it to be rapidly grown in the lab in high numbers), quick generation time (facilitating work ranging from biochemical to genetic to pathogenesis research), and even its transparency (enabling straight-forward use of fluorescent proteins and bioluminescence, as well as general imaging), and a genetic toolkit that is nearly unrivaled in other model organisms. In addition, C. elegans is often susceptible to infection with many of the same pathogenic bacteria as humans, and infection frequently utilizes the same virulence factors. This, combined with the remarkable conservation of innate immune pathways, makes C. elegans an attractive target for infectious disease models.