Hello! My name is Saanvi Gupta, and I am a junior at Downingtown East High School. My parents immigrated from India to the United States in 2004. A year after, I was born in New Jersey, after which we moved to Connecticut and then here, in Pennsylvania. I currently live in Chester Springs, a small suburb just outside of Philadelphia, with my parents and puppy Chikoo.
I applied to TRIP to further my interests in medical research and gain exposure to laboratory work while also meeting students that would willingly give up 12 Saturdays to do the same. With a large fascination with women’s health and previous research experiences in breast cancer diagnostics and global views on menopause, I am excited to see where TRIP takes me next. So far, I have learned how to use pipets, pipettes, and micropipettes (yes, they are all different), made fruit fly food, performed dilution problems, and now have fruit flies living in my bedroom! For my upcoming project, I am going to study how fenugreek (a plant that I have eaten growing up) and a high sugar diet will impact female fruit fly fertility. As someone who wishes to build a career around women’s health research and medicine, I am ecstatic about my upcoming journey in TRIP and will most definitely cherish this amazing experience.
Hi everyone! My name is Niki Wang and I’m currently a freshman at William Tennent. Throughout my childhood, I’ve moved to numerous places before settling in Warminster, Pennsylvania. I’ve lived in North Carolina, Virginia, New York, and a year or so in China. I don’t have many memories of when I lived in China since I was only two, but the lingering memories still draw me to my parents’ home country.
Hey, hey everyone! Over the past 6 weeks, I have become incredibly well acquainted with fruit flies. So far, I learned how to distinguish between male and female flies, changing the diet of the flies, and how to test for various behaviors. For my introductory experiment, I focused on the effect of valerian and a high sugar diet on the anxiety/fitness of the fruit flies. Although my results were not what I hypothesized, I became hooked on the phenomenon of stress and anxiety with fruit flies.
My independent project was actually inspired by my frequent “therapy walks” through Target. Whenever I am having a bad day or just need to clear my head, I aimlessly roam around Target - it is my therapy. As a junior in high school, there are definitely a lot of these kinds of days being that there are nights I do not get a full 8 hours of sleep.
The first half of TRIP has flown by (pun intended)! I have learned so much about the research process and how to collect and present data over the past five weeks, and now I finally get to put my skills to the test. With some time and careful consideration, I have been able to craft my own experimental question and design.
In my AP Psychology class, we were learning about development– specifically substances that could harm unborn babies, called teratogens. While drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are the obvious teratogens that come to mind, a particular substance fascinated me the most: licorice. After conducting some more research, I found out that mothers who consume a large amount of licorice while pregnant had children with health complications. This led me to decide my experimental question: “How does licorice root extract consumption affect the health of developing individuals? Are larvae whose mothers consumed licorice less mobile?” Through testing this with several doses of licorice, I hope to find out if licorice really does have detrimental effects on the health of the offspring of fruit flies.
I have had an amazing time at TRIP so far, and I am looking forward to moving on to the second half with all of my new friends, lovely TAs, and amazing instructors!
Hi friends! It’s hard to believe that we are in Week 6. I have learned so much in the lab and completed my introductory experiment on the impact of black cohosh on female fertility. I have now become faster at sorting flies. Now, I’m one week into my independent research project and the lab is getting more interesting and I have made new friends
For my independent project, I’m researching the impact of Atorvastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug, on blood sugar level. My father started taking Atorvastatin a couple of years ago to lower his cholesterol, and he noticed an increase in his blood sugar levels (A1C test). So, I am curious to see if his elevated glucose level has anything to do with Atorvastatin or just a coincidence. Also, I learned from my parents that fenugreek (a spice used in Indian cooking) has the potential to lower blood sugar. I think it would be interesting to see if Atorvastatin and fenugreek have any kind of effects on blood sugar by testing the same conditions on my flies by analyzing the glucose in their hemolymph. I would be addressing the questions: How is fruit fly glucose level affected by Atorvastatin and fenugreek? Does Atorvastatin raise glucose in flies? Does fenugreek lower the elevated glucose in flies?
Now the most interesting part for the next couple of weeks is beheading the flies! As the flies are too tiny, I am not sure how I can cut the heads off. The glucose assay indirectly measures glucose metabolism by measuring the absorption of light in a pink-colored solution in a spectrophotometer. If the heads are not removed, the pigment would mess up the data as the eyes of fruit flies are red. But my flies have white eyes because they are mutants and way cooler than normal flies. I can't wait to see how the results turn out. I’m excited for the weeks to come; I’ll see you in the next blog!
Hello, again!! Last time you met me, I had just started the TRIP journey, and now, I am already (sadly) halfway through. Over the past few weeks, I had been working on my initial project in which I studied how fenugreek and a high sugar diet impact female fertility. I conducted the female fertility assay, which allows a researcher to quantify the number of embryos laid by the female flies in a specific time period (I used a 2 hour incubation period). I absolutely enjoyed looking at the embryos under the microscope and using the data I collected to analyze and draw conclusions. My findings contradicted what I initially hypothesized; I thought that because a high sugar diet is directly correlated to lower fertility levels in women, it had to lead to lower fertility levels in the flies as well. However, to my surprise, I was wrong! The high sugar diet improved fertility rates in the flies. After further research and talking with Dr. Purdy and Dr. Leystra, I realized that sugar provides more calories to the female flies, improving fertility. This discovery challenged me to change my perspective and start looking at science from different perspectives. In other words, the answer is never straightforward - there are many factors and variables that a researcher needs to account for.
I am truly eager to come each Saturday morning and work on my experiment. This lab experience has taught me so much, and I can already see the improvement. On the first-day sorting flies, I accidentally opened a vial and released 60 flies into the lab room (oops!). Just yesterday, however, I was able to sort 480 flies in about 2 hours without losing a single one. Not only am I excited to see the results of my experiment, but I am also looking forward to seeing the progress of my talented peers that makes TRIP even more inspiring. Until next time!
If flies are exposed to both Celsius and melatonin, will the effects of the Celsius be reversed by the effects of melatonin and have an improvement in cognitive function and memory?
After I developed questions and formulated a topic I was interested in, I realized I wanted to use the larval memory assay, which measures the cognitive functions of a fruitful larva. I began to dive into the work of experimental design and calculating drug stocks. Using the mass of an average male human and the wet mass of a fruit fly with the recommended amount of Celsius and melatonin, I was able to calculate how much of each substance was to be added into my fly food. The math was definitely a challenge and I was pretty confused with all the small numbers and steps, but with the help of Dr. Leystra and Dr. Purdy, as well as many of the new friends I made here at TRIP, I was able to calculate the necessary amount and easily made the drug stocks using micropipettes and other materials. Though I spend about 4 hours every Saturday, I’ve realized over the past couple of weeks here at TRIP, that time goes by so fast! The people I am with are very supportive and give great advice. They will help you sort flies, grab materials, and double check your drug calculations. I’m so excited to see how my experiment turns out and if the results are similar to my predictions! I look forward to spending more time with my friends and my TRIP family. Thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences here at TRIP and I hope to keep you guys updated on my findings!
Salutations to whoever may be reading this! My name is Sameeksha Panda, and as one of the newest members of TRIP, I can’t wait to tell you all about me.
Science has always been a curiosity to me-how can even the smallest atom have so many different components to it, from protons to neutrons and even electrons? No matter what branch of science it is, the amount of things waiting to be discovered within every field of science has always attracted the naturally inquisitive me to it. It’s the perfect field for me, where I can learn something new every day that may change the world, or even just one atom of it.
At TRIP, I’ve already begun my scientific journey of learning; I’ve learned both the basics of micropipetting and making fly vials, as well as the developmental cycle of the Drosophila melanogaster (more commonly known as the fruit fly). I decided to join TRIP because of my passion for science research and hands-on lab experience, and so far, it has surpassed all of my expectations. I can’t wait to see where the new few months will take me as I embark on my TRIP journey!
In the future, I aspire to pursue a career in the medical field, so being a part of TRIP will give me insight into the research side of medicine and health.