For the next 3 weeks I will try to answer the question: How does Vitamin B6 affect Drug-Induced Parkinsonism? The medical relevance to humans is very important. Hinted by the title, Muhammad Ali was affected by Parkinson’s disease as well as other stars like Michael J. Fox. According to medicinenet.com, Parkinson’s disease is “the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder.” Parkinson’s involve “progressive loss of muscle control, which leads to trembling of the limbs and head while at rest, stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance.” For people affected by Parkinson’s, it is difficult to complete simple tasks like walking and talking. There is currently no treatment to cure Parkinson's disease, but there are therapies that delay the effects.
I want to find out if Vitamin B6 can provide a plausible treatment option because it is known to help produce neurotransmitters that stimulate brain and nerve cells. The objective of my project is to test the effects of Vitamin B6 and amplify the treatment of B6 to see any significant effects on Parkinson’s. To simulate Parkinson’s, I will treat the flies with Paraquat, which reduces the lifespan of flies and simulates the movement disorders like resting tremor (shaking arms), bradykinesia (slowness), rotational behavior (turning upright) , postural inability (falling). I will test the movement of the adult flies using a negative geotaxis assay, that knocks flies to the bottom of a vial to see how many flies will try to climb towards the top of the vial. I will also measure the fly’s energy consumption by measuring the height of the food in the vial and the weight and length of the flies. We’ll see what happens!
The first few weeks have been a lot of fun. I got to act like Robespierre during the French Revolution and chop off flies’ heads with a razor blade. I did a metabolism assay that involved decapitation, centrifuging, micropipetting, and using a spectrophotometer - all of which to determine the level of glucose in the hemolymph of a fly! It was definitely very fun and fascinating, as I’m learning new research techniques. I used melatonin and stressed the flies with constant dark (wrapping vials in a foil) and found interesting results. I also presented my findings with graphs and practiced creating science comics, both skills I will need for the final symposium down the line. So far the whole experience has left me more intrigued about research and I can’t wait to continue with my independent project!
Hey! It’s me, Abbie, again. Boy, has a lot been going on in TRIP! I finished my study of Black Cohosh on female fly fertility. It was crazy! It turns out that the drug increases the chances of an egg hatching and successfully developing into an adult fly! Woohoo! Now that that’s done, I get to start my own project now. I’ve had a lot of ideas, but the one that really stuck out to me was antidepressants. Okay, what about antidepressants? Well, I want to see if it affects memory… larval memory!
What gave me the inspiration to do this? How did I come up with this idea? Antidepressants are a common drug many people in my household use. Plus, neuroscience interests me! So… it’s a double win! Two interests of mine combined into one, sweet! Honestly, I have no idea what to expect in regards to this experiment. It’s something totally new to me, but that’s the fun part!
So far, TRIP has been awesome. I don’t know how else to put it! Oh, and a bit crazy! But that’s okay. I’ve met such amazing people and you know what’s the best part? We all have the same interest: science! Working with these people has been so fun and it’s opened my eyes to things I’ve never seen before. I can’t wait for what the future sessions hold!
Hello everyone! I’m Angie Sotelo and for my final project I decided to test if different colored light have an effect on the fruit fly’s mood. I know animals can have strong reactions to color. Certain colors might provoke fear or aggression. I want to see if fruit flies have any reaction to color. Similar to animals, humans associate certain things with color. For example, the color red can be associated with and invoke feelings of anger or danger.
Above I have a picture of the beloved PIXAR movie Inside Out. Yesterday when talking to Dr. Gardiner, Erin, and Serena about my project, for the comic/drawing part of the project they suggested using a play on the characters in Inside Out to represent the basis of my project (thank you guys so much for the awesome idea by the way!). So even though I can’t explore some of the more advanced human emotions, like disgust and fear, in flies, I want to see if different colored light can affect fly mood and make them irritable, similar to how humans associate blue with sadness or red with anger or green with disgust.
These past few weeks at TRIP have been exciting but at the same time overwhelming. Seeing everyone else have amazing project ideas made me unsure about what I wanted to do for my project. Coming up with ideas is easy for me, but finding the meaning behind the ideas has been difficult. But I’m doing my best to work out those details, even if I have to (accidentally) kill some flies along the way.
This past week I caught a glimpse of the weeks of chaos ahead of all of us. There’s the moment when one thinks they know exactly what they’re going to do and then there’s the moments when technical difficulties seem to say otherwise. With the first day of molding our projects done, I at least have an idea of what procedures to tweak and how to improve my technique. Of course, I wasn’t completely alone, as I had the guidance of mentors to fall back on when I felt lost in my design plan. And then there’s my classmates who gave input on assays they were experts on and then I as well felt helpful in communicating tips. Evidently, there’s value in sharing insights on knowledge and experiences within such a curious group.
Ah, yes. My plans for my independent project. Here’s a question: How does UV radiation affect the gut microbiome and for how long? To answer this, I will be treating flies with antibiotics, which have been proven to decrease microbiome diversity, and then exposing them to a nonfatal dose of UV at different stages of their development. Some of the antibiotics I’ll be using are penicillin/streptomycin and G418. Not only will I be looking for change in microbiome diversity, but also at the quantity of bacteria in the gut over time. Along the way, I will also be looking at overall health which I’m excited for because it gives me a chance to try some neat assays.
I’d love to hear any input.
For my project, I wanted my question to be relevant to our everyday lives. I wanted to use this opportunity to gain an insight on us ordinary humans so that my heartless fly-killing would have been for a profitable cause. But where to begin? Well, I’ve always had an interest in psychology and emotions, so what better topic to investigate than the impact of caffeine on our mood? Many of us consume copious amounts of caffeine every day through the miracle beverage that is coffee. Could this common drink have more insidious effects on our temperaments than we might think, or does it have even more hidden benefits than we give it credit for? We’re about to find out in the exciting weeks to follow. I will be giving my flies different concentrations of caffeine and comparing their “mood” (measured using the centrophobism and social space assays) to see if caffeine has an effect on their emotions and, if so, in what ways. By the end of my soon-to-be-groundbreaking project, we’ll hopefully have a better idea of whether or not we should feed ourselves and our precious pet flies that much caffeine.
“But Abby,” you ask, “what about the past few weeks, before you started working on your caffeine project? What have you been doing? We’re all dying to find out!” As Oscar Wilde once said, experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. So here’s where we get to the good part — I’m about to share with y’all my “experiences,” a.k.a. failures. My first few weeks at TRIP have been incredibly fun, but full of stumbles and errors. First, I’ve just realized that I forgot to put a title for my previous blog post, so Dr. Purdy (I assume) has kindly come up with a beautiful title for me, which I will be forever grateful for. Believe it or not, that wasn’t my biggest misstep in my adventures so far — for example, I have killed more flies by accident than I care to admit by crushing them with the funnel or the cotton plug. Even more impressive was my failure to label my vials completely, which led to a moment of complete dread and utter terror as I realized that my experiment might have been for nothing because I couldn’t tell which vials were wrapped in aluminum foil. (Fortunately, flies tend to copulate much more in the dark, so we figured it out. Whew!) All in all, it was a learning experience to say the least. But you know what? I was glad for my mistakes, and I’m not just saying that because it’s some cheesy moral of the story. Now I’ll forever remember the importance of proper labeling, the nuances of presenting data, and the value of thinking for a whole minute before doing anything rash in the lab. Still, I’d like to believe I’m slowly becoming more adept at handling flies, solutions, and micropipettes, but none of it would have been possible without the patient guidance of Dr. Purdy, Dr. Leystra, Dr. Gardiner, and Ms. P. I’ve learned so much in just a few weeks’ time, and even if I had 10 pages to reflect on it all, it probably wouldn’t have been enough. I can’t wait for what the second half of TRIP will hold in store for me, so stay tuned for the next episode of my grand journey in a world of flies and caffeine!
Hello! My name Tyler Yannuzzi and I am from William Tennent High School. I must begin by saying that I am grateful to be a part of the TRIP program and I look forward to the opportunities down the road. And now a little about myself now, eh? Well, I've been in the Bucks County area all of my life and I have been lucky enough to travel parts of the U.S. Also, I have two older siblings who are twins and the two of them are off attending college. My brother took part in the TRIP program during his Junior year and he has been a source of inspiration for me as I pursue the fields of science. Moreover, my sister is a talented artist and an animal science major who pushed me to explore my creativity by getting started in art at school. While, I do not believe I am all that talented I enjoy art merely for the way it allows me to express myself and be creative. It’s truly a wonderful outlet for expression. And speaking of expression, music is almost always blasting in my ears whenever I get the chance. Music is truly an amazing thing and I believe that it has allowed for some of the most interesting ways of expressing ideas and perspectives. While I do enjoy certain genres of music over others, I am truly a fan of music in general, all music, because there’s no reason not to be.
Also, since I am taller than tall should be I have found that basketball is certainly the sport for me. I don't play on a regular basis, but when I get the opportunity to do so I am always game. In the last few weeks I actually started playing volleyball at school and it has been challenging but interesting nonetheless. Furthermore, I spend some of my time writing and journaling my ideas when I can. Writing has allowed me to explore a range of ideas as well as reflect and learn new things about who I am. We are all in the process of developing into young adults and it is good to take the time to reflect and think. Yet, never think for too long or you'll never get the chance to take up opportunity.
And speaking of opportunity, I wanted to get involved in TRIP to explore the fields of research science and see if it would be something that I am interested in. I think that this program will allow me to learn more about myself and science, while enjoying what I am doing at the same time. I think that it is great that we are able to step outside of the classroom and get our hands dirty. Learning through experience is certainly more impactful than reading a textbook and memorizing it. And now that I’ve been through several weeks of the program I can say that my expectations have been met and truly believe that I am learning even if I don’t fully understand it all yet. I believe that TRIP will allow me to grow as a student as well as a person. I know that there is more to TRIP than just learning about flies and scientific research. It is an opportunity for me to develop in an environment which encourages growth and change.
My name is Erin Greer and I go to Central Bucks High School South. I love Chemistry, English, and Biology. I am also intrigued by research labs and creating independent experiments. When I am older, I hope to explore more about biology professions including heart surgeons and research labs alike to TRIP.
Beyond the classroom, I love art. Art is definitely one of my passions I will have throughout my life. I love to create art and poetry and ways to express myself. I therefore take part in many after school activities that help me explore my artistic interests as well as my passion for science. Not only do I enjoy art and science, but musical production, too. I was previously a part of the school musicals and choir programs for years. I cannot pick a favorite musical but Les Miserables, Rent, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman are up there. My favorite type of books to read are poetry books, especially those by Rupi Kaur.
I cannot wait for the following weeks of the TRIP program. I love the work and experiences I have had so far!
Hi! I am Erika Hansen. I am a sophomore at Pennsbury High School, where I play goalie for the JV soccer team. I was actually the captain of the JV team this year. I am also on the submersible robotics team. However, I do not, in fact, know how to build a robot. I play soccer for YMS (Yardley Makefield Soccer), as I have for my whole life, again as a goalie. At the moment I am considering pursuing environmental science in the future. Nonetheless, I love any kind of science which is why I am so excited to be participating in TRIP this year!
Some of my other interests include reading, my favorite genres being science fiction and historical fiction books. I also do CrossFit. I love the outdoors and travel often, so I have been to many national parks, like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Arcadia, as well as other countries like England and Costa Rica. I like to hike, bike, kayak, and to do most anything as long as it is outside. In the surrounding area some of my favorite places to enjoy nature are the kayaking on the Delaware River and hiking on Baldpate Mountain. On a related note, I am SCUBA certified (since the summer of 2016) and have been on 20+ dives in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. Finally, I am very outgoing, loud, and talkative, often much to the dismay of my twin sister. I have an older brother as well.
Hello everyone! My name is Angelica Sotelo, but I usually go by Angie. I'm a senior at Lower Moreland High School in Huntingdon Valley. I wanted to get involved in TRIP to get extra experience in the lab before college. I want to major in Biochemistry on the Pre-med track. Even though, I'm very interested in pursuing the sciences in my career, music is one of my hobbies and it is a very large part of my identity. I've been playing the violin since I was 3 years old. I also have been singing and playing guitar for a couple of years now. I take karate as well and I'm currently a black belt. I’m also very into Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Star Wars.
I’m only two weeks into the TRIP experience and I’m already learning so much! On the first day, we learned how to use a pipet and make fly food. We also got a vial of fruit flies to take home and observe. I think it’s so cool that we can learn about the fruit flies even when we are not at TRIP. My younger brother on the other hand disagrees and thinks they’re disgusting and refuses to be in the same room as them!
My absolute favorite thing we learned so far was how to distinguish between the male and female fruit flies! We observed the fruit flies under a microscope and in order to have them not fly away we knocked them out with CO2. It was so cool to see the details on the fruit fly underneath the microscope. Though, at first, it was a little frustrating to sort the male and female flies. However, I realize that it is a learning process and that I have to patient. I know I will get better and I’m looking forward to learn more at TRIP.
Hi! My name is Samantha Furey, and I'm a sophomore at William Tennent High School. I’m really excited to be participating in this program, as I enjoy science, and hope to be a forensic scientist in the future, so participating in this program will help me gain lab experience that would be important in the forensics field.
My favorite thing to do is read, and I enjoy reading pretty much anything, though fantasy books will always be my favorite. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, but an even bigger Percy Jackson fan. I also love musicals, and my favorite show is Anastasia, which I was recently lucky enough to see on Broadway. Some of my other favorites include Les Misérables, Bandstand, and Dear Evan Hansen. I’m a huge superhero fan as well, and my favorite superhero is the Flash. I also enjoy watching TV, and normally end up watching superhero shows or crime shows (because of my interest in forensic science). I also love learning about various histories and mythologies, and enjoy photography, playing video games, and playing with my dog.