Novel High-Throughput Screening Method for Parkinson's Phenotypes Using C. elegans

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Novel High-Throughput Screening Method for Parkinson’s Phenotypes Using Caenorhabditis elegans


Princeton Docket # 20-3640-1


       Researchers at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University have developed an automated method to quantify Parkinson’s-like curling behavior in the nematode C. elegans. This method is used in conjunction with drug screening assays to expand experimental throughput by 30-fold to test compounds that may be useful in treating Parkinson’s disease (PD).


       PD is a neurodegenerative disorder that approximately 10 million people worldwide are living with. The combined costs of PD to the United States is estimated to be nearly $52 billion. With 60,000 new cases of PD being diagnosed annually, finding effective treatments is of increasingly critical importance. Using the short-lived nematode C. elegans as a model organism to test therapeutic compounds for PD can accelerate the drug discovery process, as the throughput of current screening methods needs improvement.


       This technology represents a significant step forward in increasing the speed with which PD researchers can screen therapeutic drug candidates. This automated detection and quantification software is considerably faster than currently used manual methods, and adaptation of the technology by PD research groups would immediately make an impact on the ability to screen large numbers of PD therapeutic targets in C. elegans.



      -Screening drug candidates and/or genetic defects associated with Parkinson’s Disease in C. elegans

      -Accelerating the Parkinson’s Disease drug discovery pipeline



      -Significantly faster than current C. elegans screening methods

      -User-friendly automated software package



Intellectual Property & Development Status


Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity. 





Sohrabi S. et al. 2019. High-throughput behavioral analysis assay for the study of Parkinson’s related phenotypes in C. elegans. BioRXiv.


Mor D.E. et al. 2019. Metformin rescues Parkinson’s disease features induced by defective branched chain amino acid metabolism. BioRXiv.



The Inventors


Coleen Murphy is a Professor of Molecular Biology and the Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for Aging Research at Princeton University. Her group is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms governing longevity and maintenance of the biological processes that exhibit age-related decline. She is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and the HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholar Award.


Rachel Kaletsky is an associate research scholar in the Murphy lab. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and studies tissue-specific transcriptional profiles in C. elegans.


Danielle Mor is a postdoctoral researcher in the Murphy lab. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and studies how mechanisms of aging contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.


Salman Sohrabi is a postdoctoral researcher in the Murphy lab. He received his PhD from Lehigh University and focuses on the development and engineering of high-throughput methods for molecular biology.


Will Keyes is a research associate in the Murphy lab. He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and studies the regulators of reproductive longevity.





Laurie J. Tzodikov

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

(609) 258-7256 •


Sean King

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Laurie Tzodikov
Licensing Associates
Princeton University
Coleen Murphy
Salman Sohrabi
Danielle Mor
Rachel Kaletsky
William Keyes