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Worm water slide
Siran Li (graduate student) and Coleen Murphy (faculty)
Department of Electrical Engineering and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Though nearly invisible to the naked eye, the roundworm species C. elegans has huge biological importance. Since it shares more than 80 percent of its proteins with humans, studying this tiny creature can reveal many secrets about our own biology.

This device, only 2 centimeters long, contains sixteen chambers. Each of the sixteen chambers houses an adult worm, who will remain there during its lifetime. As fluid flows from left to right, the mother remains in her chamber while her tiny progeny are flushed through the curved channels into the counting area on the right. The beauty of this design is due to the symmetric pattern, which allows each worm to experience the same conditions and flow rate as the other worms.