Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Prof. Kenneth Foster, Advisor
Prof. Jureepan Saranak
Biomedical and Chemical Engineering
Engineering and Computer Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Sciences and Engineering
Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation | Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Other Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
The goal of this research is to understand how a unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas-reinhardtii, responds to red light (670nm) and sound waves, by monitoring the beating frequency of its two cilia, which control cell motility. Ciliary beating frequency (BF) is proportional to the production of ATP, mainly generated by photosynthesis. A photosynthesis inhibitor, 3-(3-, 4-dichlorophenyl)-1, 1-dimethylurea (DCMU) decreases ATP production by photosynthesis. I used DCMU as a tool to analyze the red light effect on BF.
In the process of studying the effect of red light, I unexpectedly discovered experimental conditions for unstable ciliary beating (as shown in the video). I did a computational analysis of the relationship between ciliary stiffness and BF, to help determine the mechanism of ciliary beating. I studied the initiation of a ciliary wave near the base of a cilium and simulated the effects of changes in the prestress (the static curvature of a cilium) on the wave shape of the ciliary beat.
The fact that the cilia of many organisms respond to mechanical stimuli led to the study of an effect of sound waves on the BF of C. reinhardtii. I designed a simple method to preliminarily test the effect of sound waves on the Chlamydomonas cell population, using phototaxis behavior as an indicator. The experiment quickly showed that the mechanosensor response competed with the photoresponse. I also showed that sound waves increased the ciliary BF of the negatively phototactic Chlamydomonas.
Li, Xin, "A Study of Ciliary Beating in Chlamydomonas" (2014). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 771.
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