Hi guys! It’s me, Kindu back again to tell you all just a little bit more about my independent project and how I’ve enjoyed being part of TRIP this summer. As I stated previously, my project centered around testing whether painkillers, such as Tylenol and Excedrin, would counteract the damage induced by concussion. Through the project, I was able to gain significant data, finish the experiment and gain insight into the process of research.
As for my experience at TRIP I absolutely loved it and if I could I’d do it all over again. Being in this program has not only opened my eyes up to the field of laboratory research, but given me insight to yet another creature that shares similar parts to human beings. I am overjoyed that I was able to be a participant in the program and do highly recommend it to undecided people who have a passion for science. It helps you push you mentally (regardless if you want to go into a science career or not), it gives you a great way to spend your summer as well as gives you a unique experience to put on your resume. All in all, I am glad I was able to be apart of the TRIP community and sad that it’s coming to an end so fast.
We’re at the finale! Our adventures with TRIP are coming to an end and I cannot express how much I’ll miss working with everyone in the lab. Being able to make so many friends and learn so much these past few weeks has really made me realize how much I love lab work. For my independent project, I’m studying the effects of Metformin on long term motility and development. Though I had the Negative Geotaxis Assay, which is relatively not too difficult, my second trial had so many issues. I’m convinced now that my greatest obstacle with my project was working with ice. While doing the Negative Geotaxis Assay, you tap the flies down to the bottom of their vials to study how fast they can respond against gravity. In order to separate your flies from the food vial (since the flies can get stuck in the food when you ta them down), ice helps keep them from flying away. I struggled so much with my flies getting stuck to the condensation of my petri dish. During my second trial, I had limited flies in my vials that survived, but coupled with the effects of ice, most flies wet, or even lost, their wings, preventing them from flying during the assay. Thankfully I didn’t lose all my flies! However, I did have a lot of flies that simply couldn’t perform the assay properly.
I hope my struggles haven’t deterred you! I promise it is all worth it! Everyone faces a little hardship while performing their independent projects. Especially since most of us have never done an independent project, Dr. Purdy and Miss. P really helped ease the stress. The instructors for TRIP are phenomenal! I can’t thank Pooja, Surali, and Erica enough for their help as lab assistants!
As the last session of TRIP has finished, I sift through my hard-earned data, I put the finishing touches on my presentations, and I reflect on how far I've come since the first session in July. Okay, I’m sorry that was mushy.
Before I start talking about how much I am going to miss this program, lets talk about the end of my independent project. So I left off here talking about my plans for my independent, a little larvae locomotion here, maybe a centrophobism test there, microbiome assay there. A lot has changed. I’ve embraced the changes though and I’ve learned that’s just science. So what did I end up doing for my experiments? What did I actually test? Well, 28 vials of and over 1600 flies later… I finished by performing the negative geotaxis assay on adult male flies, and then I used the same flies in the microbiome assay to test the effects BPA and BPA and kimchi (contains probiotics) has on the health and gut microbiome of the fly. I remember after the first day I tested negative geotaxis, I felt so stressed and extremely despised doing the assay, especially the “sorting on ice” part. I felt my data had all types of variables affecting it like using flies that I accidentally got its leg stuck to itself so it couldn’t jump…. Anyway, I talked to Dr. Gardiner the next day and she could totally tell I really did not want to continue with the assay. However, she told me to do it again and see if I get any better results. Wow, I am really glad I stuck with the assay, because it ended up yielding some of my most interesting results! And overtime, with the help of Dr. Purdy and Dr. Gardiner I learned helpful techniques so I wouldn’t despise sorting on ice anymore.
TRIP has honestly taught me so much, and my learning has not been limited to just science. I’ve learned time management skills, when I need to reach out and ask for help, and most importantly how to bounce back when things don’t always go as planned. As for the more science-y part of my learning, asking scientific questions and being able to quench my curiosity by conducting my own experiments all the while working alongside other amazing TRIP students and incredibly brilliant instructors and TAs is an experience you truly cannot beat. This program has opened my perspective to the science field and has showed me science does not just mean scary formulas and calculating the speed of light. It involves so much creativity, communication, and fast thinking that I never would have discovered if I had not done this program. If you are interested in applying to this program, I HIGHLY recommend it! :) It is pretty intense, i’ll admit that, but as my first experience as a researcher (while still in High School which is pretty crazy) I am so grateful I got the opportunity to be apart of this program and will never forget the amazing memories I have made at TRIP.
P.S. Please enjoy the fabulous pictures we took on the last few sessions of TRIP
What a time it’s been! Some quick notes about my accomplishments during the past five weeks: I’ve learned more about fruit flies than I could ever have expected to in a lifetime, I’ve said the words “gut bacteria” about 263 times, and I can’t take any pictures on my cellphone at the moment because I’ve filled my storage with videos of my flies exploring 55 mm petri dishes. In all seriousness, though, I think I’ve gained some invaluable knowledge and experience by participating in the program, and I can’t wait to see how I’ll use it during my future endeavors.
Prior to participating in the TRIP initiative, I was a little apprehensive about quite a few things. I knew I would soon be developing an independent project, but I kept wondering -- would I be able to create an interesting one? Would my project be impressive? Would I be able to successfully carry it out? I guess in the midst of my concern, I overlooked the fact that I’d soon be immersed in such a supportive and fulfilling scientific environment, led by instructors who put immense effort into helping their students succeed, and filled with fellow students who are equally supportive and entertainingly frazzled. My concerns left me as soon as I entered the lab for the first time, and I was able to face every challenge with an open mind and an excited outlook.
As far as how my independent project went, the results were pretty interesting, and were not what I expected. In testing the effects of quercetin (found in quinoa) and açaí berry extract on fly activity and the gut microbiome in order to explore the science of superfoods, it turns out that while high concentrations of quercetin and low concentrations of açaí extract produce more active flies, low concentrations of quercetin and high concentrations of açai extract yield a more diverse gut microbiome. If I could do the experiment over again, I think I’d like to test a wider variety of concentrations of the different superfood representatives in order to get a better idea of how these trends play out. I came up with the idea for this project as a result of my interest in how health claims about certain foods, when combined with advertising and social media, can lead to these foods becoming immensely popular trends in our diets. At the conclusion of the project, I think I can say that while some of these trends are pushed on the public to quite the extreme extent, these claims aren’t based on nothing. Activity and bacteria diversity were improved with the superfoods!
By the end of this program, I think my skills regarding designing an experiment and facing challenges throughout the process have considerably improved. I also really appreciate the experience I’ve gained with the communications aspect of the program, where I had the opportunity to create a graphical abstract representing my project. While learning how to use Google Drawings was quite the hassle, I’m certainly grateful for the opportunity to learn more about communicating scientific concept and discoveries to the public. In addition to gaining skills regarding design, communication, and implementation of an experiment as a result of this program I can’t leave out the fact that I’ve met some really great people along the way -- and I’m excited to see what they achieve in the future! I can’t think of a more fulfilling way to have spent my summer, and I’m so glad to have gotten this opportunity.
Wow, is it already over? These 5 weeks of TRIP flew by at light speed! However, I can confidently say that they were some of the most amazing, fun, and completely satisfying weeks of my entire life. Even when I felt tired, anxious, or apprehensive before a certain day of TRIP, I would leave feeling totally fulfilled. I feel lucky to have been under the instruction of the amazing Dr. Purdy, Ms. Pellegrin, and Dr. Gardiner, as well as the TA’s Erika, Pooja and Surali. These are some of the most hilarious, kind, and helpful people that I have ever met in my entire life. Even though I entered TRIP pretty sure that scientific research was what I wanted to pursue, this program solidified that into stone. I loved having freedom in the laboratory, putting in hours of work to get data, and then analyzing what the data was telling me. I also hugely enjoyed meeting and hanging out with all of my awesome classmates, and am leaving the program totally satisfied with the experience. It truly taught me that the lab is where I feel most comfortable.
As for my actual independent project, the results turned out to be quite interesting! I was testing the effects of alleged cognition/alertness/memory-enhancing drug Adrafinil in memory throughout development, and what I found ended up being the complete opposite of my hypothesis! Though I expected the drug to enhance short-term memory in my larvae and negatively affect memory in adults that had grown up constantly eating it, I found (through several grueling trials of the Adult Memory Assay) that my adults’ memory was perfectly fine! More concerning, however, is the fact that I found a pretty clear trend amongst my larvae’s memory: the higher the dose of Adrafinil, the worse their short-term memory! This finding absolutely stunned me, as Adrafinil is widely marketed as an almost magical supplement that makes you smarter, and I have heard several fellow high-school students express interest in it for exactly that reason! I’m sure that they would never have expected the exact opposite result, but now I’ll make sure to warn them that they’re perhaps better off doing their assignments uninfluenced by any kinds of supplements. Either way, I found collecting and analyzing my data to be an incredibly rewarding and interesting process, and the fact that the results directly contradicted my hypotheses somehow made them that much cooler!
All in all, I’m incredibly happy that I got to participate in this program, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat to any individual, whether are super interested in research, on the fence, or would never have expected themselves to even consider it, as it’s guaranteed that they will leave the program having gained something. I’m a bit afraid that the rest of my high school labs and science classes may pale in comparison to TRIP, as the independence and opportunities that were granted to me throughout it were uniquely satisfying and generous. Nevertheless, I will never forget these 5 weeks. A huge thanks to Dr. Purdy, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, and everybody else that helped make TRIP such an amazing experience for me!
My project so far has been very awesome. I just finished doing the experimentation last Thursday. Now I am preparing for the symposium. Now, a little about my project. I tested the effects on the fruits fly fertility after giving them painkillers. I also tested the social behavior of the offspring. It was been kinda stressful to understand the data at first, but it has become much easier.
This program has been so awesome for me. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity. I’ve met so many great people, including my classmates and mentors. I’ve also learned so much. I never expected that would learn about comics. One very important aspect of TRIP is that you understand how to work in a research lab. You get experience through an assigned experiment. Then all the amazing mentors help you create your own project. It is awesome! The program is amazing, and if you get the chance to be apart of it, do not miss it!
Hi everyone! As my summer at TRIP is finally coming to an end, it is amazing to see how much I’ve learned in just 5 weeks. I met so many adults that will have an impact on my career path in the future, and have made friends that have shaped me in numerous ways. There’s so much I’ll take away from this program, and it’s unlike any other experience I’ve had in high school.
My independent project was originally based on how antibiotics affect microbiome diversity (gut bacteria), however, I decided I wanted to dig in deeper; I decided that I would also want to study female fertility as certain studies show there may be a negative impact on fertility if one consumes antibiotics. Therefore, I compared the gut bacteria and female fertility of fruit flies exposed to antibiotics at two different levels-- flies that were barely exposed to antibiotics and progeny that were raised with antibiotics at all times. I tested three different antibiotics, which were Bactrim, Cipro, and Penicillin/Streptomycin (Pen/Strep). I found that Pen/Strep decreased the microbiome diversity significantly more than Cipro and Bactrim, which I was surprised by. Pen/Strep also had a significantly higher embryos/female ratio, meaning it expedited fertility as compared to control conditions. I found this piece of data very interesting due to the fact that Pen/Strep is one of the most commonly used and accessible combination of antibiotics in the world. It made me question how much I really knew about antibiotics and how little we know about the drugs and medicine we consume. Additionally, I thought it was great that we were free to conduct as many or whatever assays we wanted to, which allowed us to shape our independent project in ways we never thought of. Originally, I planned on only doing the microbiome assay, but then I realized I wanted to learn so much more. Over the course of the entire independent project, I conducted the female fertility and microbiome assay a total of 12 times!
Although my five weeks at TRIP are over, I am still collecting data and working to take away the most information possible. This program was an amazing opportunity, as I got to meet other kids with similar interests with me, and had three instructors that were also really passionate about STEAM. We were given freedom with how we conducted our independent projects, but we were also given the structure to learn and become the self-directed learners we are now. Other than the specific facts I learned about antibiotics during this summer, I learned what it may be like to work in a lab. I learned why multiple trials are important, how to utilize time efficiently, and truly understand how your surroundings can skew your data. We were constantly working to make sure we get everything done, and were fully immersed into STEAM during the 10 days we spent there. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to become apart of the TRIP family--I loved every minute of TRIP!
These past few weeks in TRIP have been busy ones. Between doing experiments, data analysis, and development counting, it was cool to actually perform the things that the instructors had helped us design. My independent project has focused mainly on the effect of lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, and how it can be used to counteract DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation (UV).
I performed two assays: the Larval Locomotion and Memory Assay.
In all honesty, I found the locomotive assay to be my least favorite of the two. The purpose of it was to see how each lycopene and UV affected the activity and ability to move aof the larvae. It was really simple to perform. The memory assay was fun to set up and carry out, even though there was a lot of waiting.
Overall, the TRIP experience has been really great and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to meet new people and try and learn new things. It’s given me a better understanding of how I work and allowed me to understand the aspects that I need to work the most on when it comes to my work process. I’m sad to see that it has to end but all good things must come to an at some point, right? I’ll always remember my experience with TRIP and the things I’ve learned.
Wow, 5 weeks has passed in a blur! I feel like it was literally just yesterday when I was meeting all of these people, and introducing myself. Yet strangely, so much has happened since then. Not only did we quickly all familiarize ourselves with each other, we have also just completed lab work and research for our independent research projects. My independent project centered around Parkinson’s Disease and its effect on the microbiome. Since Omega 3 is meant to decrease inflammation in inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s is an inflammatory neurodegenerative disease, I figured it would help the microbiome, and help alleviate symptoms from the Parkinsonism.
For my independent project, I performed two assays: the negative geotaxis assay and the microbiome test. The negative geotaxis assay was a lot of tedious work, such as sorting with ice and running the risk of condensation drowning flies, and running through all your vials 7 times everyday during lab, however the assay produced a lot of useful results. For example, the negative geotaxis assay told me numerically just how far the average fly from each vial travelled, and it was easy for me to produce graphs that visually displayed my results too. At first glance, the microbiome assay looked difficult with all the different materials used to culture the bacteria. Really, all of the complicated stuff is to make sure that no other types of bacteria outside of their gut microbiome gets into your sample and contaminates it. In simple terms, the microbiome assay requires sterilizing the outside of your flies, smashing the bodies into tiny pieces in certain amounts of broth that helps culture bacteria, then diluting that solution, and dripping it onto an agar plate so you can isolate colonies and grow them in the incubator. To quantify your colonies, you look at color, shape and size to distinguish different species and types of bacteria. Both of these assays were honestly a lot of fun, and though there were frustrations and failures along the way, I’m really glad I used these two for my project.
After five sessions, the results of the assay is that Omega 3 ALONE greatly boosts the flies’ activity and motility in the negative geotaxis assay, and also helps diversify the microbiome. However, when Omega 3 is combined with the Paraquat, as in flies with Parkinsonism also take the drug, they are much more likely to die and perform even poorer on the negative geotaxis test than the flies who were treated with only Paraquat. The flies treated with paraquat also had lower amounts of bacteria and less diversity in the microbiome. This brings up more questions that beg for more research such as… should people with Parkinson’s limit their intake on foods with Omega 3? Could looking at the microbiome and how it is affected by Parkinson’s lead to better treatment for those affected or a cure?
TRIP has clearly given me extensive knowledge of research and flies, and a broader perspective in the general field of science. However, despite the focus of this program being the flies, and how to treat them, we’ve gained something more invaluable: we’ve learned how to be curious, courteous scientists. We understand how to behave in a real life work or lab scenario, and we have formed bonds with people who will likely lead our society to big things in the future. We know how to ask questions, be professional, and have taken great steps in public speaking. Most importantly, we have been shown the true purpose of science: it’s asking important questions that may improve people’s lives, and presenting this in a way that others may understand it. Because of TRIP, I can truly see my future ending up intertwined with science and research.
After testing the effects of Sertraline (Zoloft) on flies for the past couple of weeks through the centrophobism assay, I finally had my data and was able to come to a conclusion. It seemed that gender did end up making a difference drug effectiveness. In the Centrophobism Assay, I observed that the males flies crossed the center more often than the females exposed to the same dosage, suggesting the anxiety of the male flies decreased to a significantly higher degree than that of the females. Zoloft was also found to increase activity levels, as flies who consumed higher amounts of Sertraline were found to spend more time moving than those with exposed to less drug. The females required higher dosages than the males in order to become as active as them. This could be due to the fact that the females are larger than the males and thus require more of the drug to experience the same effects. If so, this would probably translate to humans in that males, as they are typically larger than females, would require higher dosages of Sertraline than females to experience the same effects.
Conducting these assays was very intriguing, as it was interesting to see the data come together and understand the effects of the drug, which I had been wondering about for weeks. I ended up partially disproving my hypothesis, as although I had predicted the drug to be more effective in reducing female anxiety, I had predicted that it would decrease activity when it actually ended up increasing activity.
Furthermore, not only did I enjoy conducting my research, but I also had a blast with a bunch of new friends that I made through this program. Coming from many different schools, it was neat to see us all become great friends and have so much fun together. From trying and filming many challenges (and failing) to racing one another (or just watching), we made memories that we will all cherish for a long time. It was super neat to get to know one another, as well as the fabulous instructors we had. Thank you so much to Dr. Purdy, Miss P., Dr. Gardiner, Pooja, and Surali for teaching us so much, challenging us, and being super supportive. Thank you also to my wonderful new friends; I wish you all the best!