Chiou-Fen Chuang

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    College: Liberal Arts and Sciences Department: Biological Sciences
    Title: Associate Professor
    Office: MBRB 4070
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    The goal of our research is to use C. elegans as a model system to elucidate genes and mechanisms that generate sensory diversity at molecular and neural circuit levels. C. elegans consists of just 302 neurons with reproducible functions, morphologies, and synaptic connections. We know the identities, positions, and lineages of all neurons, as well as the complete wiring diagram in the C. elegans nervous system. In addition, the transparency of C. elegans allows us to visualize cell fates at single cell resolution in live animals using fluorescent markers. Furthermore, we can use C. elegans behaviors such as moving, mating, attraction towards specific odors, or avoidance from particular odors to analyze specific functions of individual neurons. Studies in C. elegans have led to the discovery of many important biological mechanisms (such as programmed cell death, RNAi, miRNA, axon guidance pathways) that are conserved from worms to humans. Thus, what we learn from C. elegans is significantly relevant to human research of similar biological or psychological areas of interest.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: flexible

    Qualifications of a Student:
    We are seeking energetic and highly motivated first, second, third, or fourth year undergraduate students with a major in life science and interest in graduate research. Completion of introductory biology courses is preferred. Prior research experience is not required.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Successful applicants will work in a very stimulating academic and cultural environment. Each student will have a flexible work schedule that depends on her or his school schedule and can work between 5-20 hours per week that may be extended during summer. Interested students should send a resume with GPA and a brief statement (one paragraph) of career goals to Professor Chiou-Fen Chuang at

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