I remember as if it were yesterday that I stumbled into the TRIP lab, bright-eyed and ready to indulge in science. I can safely say that my craving for discovery and opportunities to learn has been satisfied.
For the past few weeks, I have been hard at work on my independent project, which investigates if Bilberry Extract can ameliorate the negative effects of induced heat shock on Drosophila melanogaster health, as measured by negative geotaxis. In my work as an EMT on live 911 calls and stand-by community events, I have firsthand seen how detrimental heat shock can be on the average person and how there are virtually no medications that can prevent it. This fact troubled me deeply, and as I began investigating potential solutions to what seemed like a simple problem, I came across the antioxidant known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help with mobility. Bilberry Extract is packed with anthocyanins, and I began to question if this already-used supplement can also prevent the damaging effects of heat shock on mobility since heat shock infamously cramps the muscles of the affected person. In my experiment, I had 4 fly vials which included a control, a Bilberry Extract vial, a heat shock vial, and a fly vial that both received Bilberry Extract in its food and was heat shocked. My hope was to see the Bilberry Extract and heat shock combined vial have similar mobility percentages to the control vial, indicating that the supplement can reverse the effects of heat shock on mobility.
If someone were to tell me a few months ago that I would be so invested in laboratory work and the fascination of science, I would burst out into a hysterical laugh. But TRIP has taken me on a journey of self-discovery that has taught me what I truly love. I love the thrill of discovery and experimentation, as despite the challenges, the process of learning shaped me into a kid excited, rather than dreading, to learn. I have learned laboratory, scientific, and even personal skills that I am truly appreciative of, and I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Amanda Purdy and Dr. Alyssa Leystra for catalyzing my further love of science. Without them and their close mentorship, I would not be in the position and newfound mindset that I am in today. Thank you so much to TRIP’s very own TAs - Austin Cozzone, Jenan Hazazi, and Keith Thompson - for helping out with what I needed when conducting my research. To my future TRIP mates (and I am sure my present TRIP classmates can attest), this program is more than just a research internship, it is rather a mentorship on how to lead a life in science. Learning how to work with micropipettes and agar is one step, but a larger and more important one I learned was how to deal with difficulties and unexpectedness of research. This experience has taught me more than I could have expected and I am forever grateful for these past few months. Thank you all for reading these past few weeks of blogs and I hope the "TRIP" with me has been enjoyable.
Signing off one last time