For my independent project, I am studying the effects of Sertraline, an antidepressant more commonly known as Zoloft, on fly anxiety and activity through the social space and centrophobism assays. These assays will allow me to measure fly activity and social behavior, seeing how the drug affects the flies. For example, in the centrophobism assays, when more flies stay on the periphery of their petri dishes, it shows they are more fearful and anxious, whereas if more are in the center, they have less anxiety. The main goal of this project is to determine how the drug affects male and female flies differently. I wanted to test this because drugs are often prescribed to both men and women, despite the fact that their bodies function quite differently and are typically of different sizes. I want to know if the drug is more effective in reducing anxiety in one gender than the other and if it has any other effects, such as causing a lack of energy, more prominent in one gender.
TRIP so far has been very exciting and lots of fun. I have learned so much about flies, laboratory techniques, and research in just a few weeks! The people in the program, as well as those teaching it, are absolutely amazing and super nice. We have become good friends already and love working with each other and helping out people when they need it. Furthermore, everyone is very smart and has come up with brilliant ideas for their independent projects, which I cannot wait to hear more about. Overall, I am having a wonderful experience and cannot wait to continue with my independent project in the coming weeks!