Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Biology

First Advisor

Professor Fawzia Abdel-Rahman


Caenorhabditis elegans have been used to help understand health concerns associated with humans. Studies conducted in space have led to a better idea of how to address the concerns associated with how the body responds during and after space flight. Previous studies have shown microgravity may affect embryonic development, and cell structure and function of C. elegans. This study will investigate embryonic and post embryonic development of C. elegans and if they are affected by exposure to microgravity. Continued investigation was conducted to show if Simulated Microgravity (SMG) and Heat Shock treatments had any effect on oxidative damage of C. elegans during pre/post embryonic development. Locomotion assay was performed using adult hermaphrodites to determine if the behavior of C. elegans was affected by exposing their eggs to (SMG). C. elegans eggs in M9 buffer were exposed to (SMG) using NASA recommended High Aspect Ratio Vessels (HARV) for 2 different time intervals (24 hour and 48 hour) periods. The embryonically developed and hatched eggs were followed through post embryonic development and used to 1 2 determine the lifespan, reproduction, motility and oxidative damage. We determined that the control has larger numbers of hatched eggs after the first 24 hours and gradually increased thereafter. Our results reflect that simulated microgravity affects both reproduction and population growth of C. elegans. Reproduction rates and populationwere decreased for those exposed to microgravity. Showing that (SMG) exposed eggs caused the population and progeny of the adults to be decreased. Exposing..-C. elegans to heat shock after exposure to simulated Microgravity had an additive effect in reducing the lifespan which increased oxidative stress. Whet). eggs were exposed to (SMG) for 24 hours during the embryonic development then introduce them to heat shock; it's observed that the lifespan of these adults were very close to those of the normal gravity. Lifespan in both treatments were shorter compared to the control. Exposure to (SMG) and/or heat shock increased the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This study showed (SMG) decreased egg hatching, survival, lifespan, and brood size of C. elegans as well as increasing oxidative stress and decreased resistance to heat shock.