A Brief Update by Michael Freaney
Hello again! Michael here. After several days of the TRIP, I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of things. I can successfully count and sort flies, I can now prepare fly food without it exploding in the microwave, and I have become quite adept at calculating dilutions. Of course, I’m still just as clumsy as before, but for now I’m not going to worry about that. Anyway, I have really gotten to enjoy the lab! Sometimes I feel like three and a half hours are just not enough to do everything.
After performing the taste preference assay and learning about other assays from presentations, I’m excited to move onto my own independent project! My plan is to study the effect of selenium on the flies’ energy level/activity. Selenium, which some of you may recognize as an element of the periodic table, can be found in a large variety of foods (especially meat), and is important in the body because it is an antioxidant and helps boost the immune system. However, I am interested in selenium for another one of its uses: improving the function of the thyroid. I have a small history of hypothyroidism in my family, and a proper intake of selenium can help prevent this condition. While flies do not have thyroids, I would like see what other effects selenium may have on the body. I have chosen to study the flies’ activity because I am an athlete and an active person. To assess the flies’ activity, I will be performing the negative geotaxis and larval locomotion assays. Also, I will be using three different experimental groups, each exposed to a different concentration of selenium. To summarize my project, I could say that I would like to know what effects (if any) selenium may have on energy level. Hopefully I will get some promising results!
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