First Advisor

Suzanne Estes

Term of Graduation

Spring 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology






Caenorhabditis elegans, Cancer -- Early detection, Ligands, G proteins -- Receptors, Nematodes -- Behavior, Volatile organic compounds, Cancer -- Diagnosis



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 86 pages)


With the growing prevalence of cancer worldwide, research has increasingly focused on methods of early detection since the early detection of cancer can dramatically improve health outcomes for affected individuals. Ideally, early detection systems would be highly reliable yet cost-effective and easy to use. Toward development of such a system, Hirotsu et al. (2015), developed a "Nematode Scent Detection Test" (NSDT) that capitalizes upon the attraction of Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes to various tissue samples from cancer patients to detect multiple types and stages of cancer. However, it is currently unknown which G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and/or ligands interacting with theses receptors, cause this attractive behavior in C. elegans. By determining the GPCRs and ligands responsible, we can develop a detection system that no longer requires the use of an animal. To lay the groundwork necessary to achieve these goals, my thesis sought to: 1) validate and expand upon the NSDT for samples derived from a wider variety of patient types (e.g., tobacco users) and cancer and benign disease types than those tested by Hirotsu et al. (2015); 2) determine whether nematodes' chemotactic response to cancer is strain- or species-specific; 3) and perform a metabolomics literature review to find possible candidate VOCs that are significantly different in concentration between cancer and healthy patients.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Biology Commons