We know that neurons of the simple roundworm C. elegans can produce and excrete double-stranded RNA. When dsRNA travels to the germline, the organ that makes eggs and sperm, it will find other RNAs with matching sequences and turn off that gene. This silencing of the gene can last for more than 25 generations.

The discovery of this new way to regulate genes raises the exciting and eerie prospect that the activity of neurons (thought?) can transmit a message across generations. If this sounds like science fiction, it is because this is cutting-edge science that transforms our understanding of what animals can do. Finding the neurons that are best at transmitting RNA messages across generations – the transgenerational brain – is what we hope to accomplish with your help. With a generation time of just 3 days, a brain of just 302 neurons, and a sequenced genome that is easily edited, C. elegans is the organism of choice to define the first transgenerational brain.

First-Year Spring Semester Course:
FIRE 160 - FIRE SEMESTER 2: Transgenerational Brain Initiative
(3 credits, General Education Distributive Studies, Natural Sciences)
Second-Year Fall Semester Course:
FIRE 260 - FIRE SEMESTER 2: Transgenerational Brain Initiative
(3 credits, General Education Scholarship in Practice)

2017 Transgenerational Brain Initiative Innovation & Research Stream

2016 Transgenerational Brain Initiative Innovation & Research Stream

Faculty Leader
Dr. Antony Jose

Research Educator
Dr. Yun Choi