As I mentioned in an earlier post, my independent project involves testing the effects of herbicides in my fruit flies, in order to translate my findings into how herbicides could affect humans. I mainly focused on female fertility, development, and effects on the microbiome. I hypothesized that all three of these categories would be impacted negatively. Eventually, I found my hypothesis to be completely incorrect. There was either no effect or a positive effect on the categories I was measuring. At first, upon discovering I had predicted the wrong results, I was pretty distraught, because I posses the notion that I must be right all the time. However, I quickly realized that having results I did not predict is more valuable than getting the results that were expected. I came to this conclusion when I realized if I had found the results were exactly the same as what I predicted, I would not have learned anything new. My project would not have been as worthwhile, if my results had not been so unexpected.
I shared this realization I had, because I believe it illustrates what I have taken from this program. Undoubtedly, the actual science part and lab work was an amazing experience. I had a fantastic time being in charge of my own experiments and going in the direction I wanted to go, but the program proved to help me grow as a person, not just a scientist. I learned that making mistakes is okay, because everybody suffers from them, especially when they are trying something new, and not to be discouraged when I do make mistakes. I learned how to teach myself new concepts and do research with the resources I had at my disposal (the internet). I can more effectively synthesis data, and chose how to present it most efficiently in presentations, which I am now better at constructing and giving. I learned how to problem solve and create imaginative ways to overcome unique obstacles I encountered. On a more comedic, but still genuine note, I learned to be less clumsy. I did not run into any tables on our last day! And my hands shake significantly less when I use a micropipette. Also, I am really good at counting now, but I do not know if that translates beyond fruit flies fruit. Finally, I learned how to productively share my thoughts and ideas with people, whether I was explaining my project to a guest, talking to a classmate about what I was testing, or answering questions my instructors posed to me. Overall, TRIP was an amazing experience full of intriguing science, life lessons, and lots of laughs along the way.
It has been three months since TRIP started and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned! TRIP has been one of the best experiences I have had and I would 100% do it all over again. While the symposium approaches and everyone is getting ready to present, I am reminded of how much I have grown as a student and a scientist! TRIP has taught me how to deal with failure and problems that aren’t planned and it has even taught me that research is something I want to do in the future.
For my independent project, I decided to test a herb called Asafoetida. The name sounds funny but it’s a lot less complicated than it seems! Asafoetida is a herb that is commonly used in my household in my mom’s cooking. My mom always says that she puts it in food so our stomach won’t hurt. Knowing this, I wanted see the other implications of Asafoetida. I decided to do a little research and I found that it is supposed to lower blood sugar in humans but it is also harmful to pregnant women if it is eaten in big amounts. With this in mind, I decided to see whether or not Asafoetida lowers glucose levels in diabetic flies and also see if it affects the fertility of the flies. My results for fertility ended up being inconclusive, which is why I then decided to focus on development. I wanted to see if there were any background effects of Asafoetida on my flies and if there was delayed development.
I have finished experimenting for my project and now the time has come to put all the data together and analyze it for the final presentation! Three months have flown by and I have found people that I will remain friends with for a long time! TRIP has been an amazing journey and I’m so sad it is over!
This TRIP Initiative program was truly interesting and fruitful in the various things I learned. My project explored the effect of Focalin on Memory and Metabolism. Focalin is a Central Nervous System stimulant, very similar to Adderall. I studied the long-term effect of Focalin on memory by carrying out a larval memory assay. I then studied the short-term effect of Focalin on Glucose metabolism by carrying out an adult Glucose metabolism assay. The difference between long-term and short-term is seen through the larva growing up and developing in the Focalin-containing food (long-term) and the control adult flies only being exposed to the Focalin containing food for short-term consumption. My results showed that Focalin has negative impacts on both the larval memory and the glucose metabolism. Furthermore, the lowering of glucose metabolism can be linked to a diminished appetite. The in-lab research of this internship was very informative and interesting but I feel as if my greatest learning happened outside of the science.
Not only did I get to experience scientific research with fruit flies, but I also explored my own abilities when placed in situations of trial and learned some things about myself. During this program I went through many challenges and had to completely change my project half way through the experimentation period. However, I was able to persevere and create a new project that yielded thought-provoking data. Furthermore, this internship has shown me that independent science research is not for me, which is COMPLETELY FINE. Had I not participated in the TRIP Initiative I would have continued on my path to college with “tunnel vision” believing that I want to go into a field of science research. This program taught me that I am much more of a social person who does not enjoy the inclusive nature of a lab environment. With that said, I am not attempting to discredit this program or tell anyone not to apply and participate. If anything, I am stating the exact opposite, I believe this is the most important program I have ever taken part in and, just like for me, it will undoubtedly help anyone decide what they want to pursue in the future (the future… that’s a scary thing to think about).
Just wanted to give a little update on my project as it has come to an end. I remember telling you guys how much I hate my flies, but yet as I come to the end of my experiment, I find it terribly hard to dispose of 72-ish vials. I can’t believe I have grown to be attached to these flies. They’ve made me stay in the lab much, much, much longer than I needed to be there, go bananas from the fatigue of sorting them and performing assays, yet they’ve made me grow as person. They are the representation of my hard work. It’s just really hard to say goodbye to them. Moving on from that, my project has gone really well and yielded some unexpected results. At first, I believed that my experiment was going to be quite boring since I was going to be starving flies and starved flies are known to only live about an average of 3 days. My flies were able to live up to 23 days in starved conditions. That made my experiment so much better, but I will tell you that it was definitely not fun counting all the dead flies in each vial every single day. I’m proud of my experiment and I cannot help to overlook the fact that Ms.P lead me in the right direction for this experiment. Thank you Ms.P!
“At any given moment, you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end” -Christine Mason Miller. The lab days may be over, but my life as a Tripian is definitely not over. My overall experience was positive. There were many days that I detested those flies for eating up my time, I grew to love them. It was a love-hate type of relationship. In the lab, I hated them, but at home they were a symbol of the excellent opportunity that I was able to gain. This was definitely a great representation of what it is like to be in a lab and a researcher. I do recommend signing up for TRIP even if you know you want to be a researcher or if you definitely know you don’t-- not just if you are unsure. You will be able to gain a greater insight in more than just research as Dr. Purdy does bring in people with all different types of backgrounds to help you learn more about what you may be interested in or how to combine all your interests. I mean I came into this program not at all knowing that I would have to create a graphical abstract (a nice way of incorporating the ‘A’ into STEM). Through this graphical abstract, some interesting results came out and through the persistence of Dr. Gardiner, I was able to create something that I’m truly proud of. A big thanks to Dr. Gardiner for going out of her way. It was much appreciated!
As I mentioned in my previous post, TRIP teaches you way more than the skills of scientist. It teaches you life lessons along the way Sacrifice and dedication were the ones I mentioned previously, but I would like add the crucial communication skills, time management, and organization to the ever growing list. If you’re considering TRIP, please register for the program. If you feel unqualified, just do it because you may be surprised-- just like I was. Do not compare yourself to anyone before or after the program just understand and know that you bring the unique flavor to the plate. Be confident; I also learned lots of that from TRIP.
The beginning of a new page in my book labeled TRIP. I have decided to keep writing this story. I have joined the other alums and I’m so happy that I had this opportunity. TRIP will forever be engraved in my heart.
So much has happened in the last couple of weeks. It seems like just yesterday we were walking into this small classroom with no knowledge of how to conduct experiments or how to work with fruit flies. Back then, fruit flies were these tiny little insects that liked to populate my house. In thirteen weeks, I have learned so much about these extraordinary organisms and realized why fruit flies have been used in countless studies. This program taught me how to experimentally and successfully work with fruit flies to get applicable results to humans.
After finishing the mini-experiments, we began to think about ideas for our independent projects. The mini-experiments were the perfect way to both teach how to experiment with flies but also how to properly analyze scientific data. When it came to creating our independent projects, the ideas were limitless. And no idea was too big to run. For example, I chose to vape fruit flies to look at its effects on activity and fertility. As expected, my experiment had many challenges like how to scientifically administer vape to fruit flies. Through hard work, perseverance, and extremely long hours, I was able to create a functioning and measurable process to vape the flies. This program was a rewarding experience. I am grateful for the tremendous support from all of the TRIP directors and for the opportunity to conduct my own experiment as a high school student.
I still cannot believe that this program is over! I have made so many friends and conducted experiments beyond my wildest dreams. I have both learned and grown from this program and it was one of the best ways to break away from studying and do something fun. Thank you to everyone who helped me on this journey and made my experiments possible.
Hello again! TRIP, unfortunately, is coming to an end after this weekend when we give our presentations. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to learn so much about science and work with such talented people.
When I first started TRIP, I was nervous that I wouldn’t succeed as well as the other students because I had difficulty with a math-related packet we were assigned. Luckily, once we moved on to the experimentation part of the class I felt a lot steadier. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to research initially, but talking to the other students helped me out a lot. Everyone in the morning session was super sweet and energetic even though it was early in the morning. My favorite part in the mornings was when someone brought in donuts or cookies to snack on. There’s nothing like a chocolate donut while you’re cutting off fly heads, right?
When I was choosing my independent project, I was learning about the rise of antibiotic use in America in AP Biology. At the same time, I read an article about how healthy food without added sugar has become more expensive compared to junk food over the years. I wanted to experiment to see if there was any effect that the simultaneous change in diet would have on fruit flies and therefore possibly humans.
The in-lab portion of TRIP was my favorite because I learned how to complete different types of fly tests and analyze the resulting data. The glucose assay took most of the class time, but it was still fun to complete. Unfortunately, I wish there had been a bit more coordination between the program and the school faculty because I spent most of the time overwhelmed with the amount of work demanded from both TRIP and my other classes. Overall, this program was definitely the highlight of my junior year. I’m so excited to share my research with others at the symposium this Saturday!
Hey, It's me again!
Last blog post I hinted that I was looking forward to torturing some flies and I found a way to do that! Now it’s time to have a moment of silence for all flies that will be coming to me for my experiment. For my experiment, I decided to test the effect of diet with the most essential macromolecules (proteins, lipids, and sugars) that I will be comparing to a control food. After 7 days on the food, my files will be put through a series of assays (including, but not limited to negative geotaxis, female fertility, etc.) Afterwards, I will be taking my flies home in tubes filled with water and cotton (a way to starve the flies) to see which diet causes the longest life span during prolonged times of starvation. I will be comparing each generation to each other (the parents and their progeny to see if being on the diet short term vs. growing up on a specific diet changes anything). Yes, this is an ultimate last one standing battle. Again, take a few moments to mourn those poor flies coming my way. I must give a shoutout to Dr. Purdy and Miss P for helping develop my experiment nicely.
Where did my inspiration come from?
To be specific, I was watching a documentary on PBS called Nine Months. In one episode they mentioned how research has been done to see if the diet of the mother during the first trimester effectively builds up the immune system of her offspring. They gave an example of how women who conceived during the green period (a time full of green leafy vegetables) have children who outlive others that weren’t conceived in that time through life records. I gained lots of interests and wanted to test if this was true. Unfortunately I couldn’t test immunology so I focused on another problem in Africa, which is starvation. I wanted to see if a specific diet could help those living in prolonged periods of starvation effectively live longer and hence the birth of my independent project.
Enough about that, here’s how TRIP has been going...
Besides that, I would like to tell you how my first few weeks at TRIP have been going; it’s been a good few weeks with many lessons. I must admit at times, my brain was picked to the point where I had headaches. Also, the Fly Nap just gave such a strong smell that I felt like I was going to fall into a nap myself, but it’s been fun. And bruh, I killed so many flies; it’s crazy. Sometimes I don’t even know how it happens, I just see dead flies. I just wasn’t gifted with them. Good thing my experiment allows me to kill my flies or others I would have no results. *sighs of relief*
Through this program, I have come to learn what true dedication and sacrifice is. It’s truly not easy to give up every Saturday (from beginning to end of the program) for your session. I tell you, things WILL come up and you know you have to chose TRIP over it because you committed yourself. However, these two are one of the best lessons you can learn that will prepare you for the future. I’m so happy that I am part of this community and family. Also, you will definitely feel extremely special with all the picture taking going on. To another amazing more weeks.
Warning: collection of developmental data is pure torture and you have to do it every week.
Hi! Most of this post will be all about my independent project and what I’m planning on doing with it!
Before I start explaining all about my independent project, I’ll first talk about my first experiment and my first few weeks in TRIP. For my initial project, I chose to use the drug Fenugreek and used dish soap to mimic the effects of intestinal inflammation as a stressor. Then, the next week, I decided to conduct the Negative Geotaxis Assay, which was an interesting assay to do, and one that I am also incorporating into my independent project. This experiment was really interesting, even though almost all of the flies who were given the dish soap sadly ended up dying, which didn’t allow me to test the effects of the soap on activity.
For my independent project, I’m essentially going to be trying to give my flies Type 2 Diabetes, and then testing the activity levels of the flies with or without being given something to try to counteract the Diabetes. To try and give them diabetes, I increased the amount of sugar mixed into the food of one vial. Those flies would consume more than their required dose. To try to treat the diabetes, I also gave some of the flies a dosage of cinnamon, which, according to some studies, could reduce blood sugar levels. Starting next week, I’m going to be running tests on the activity levels of my flies and seeing if the increased amounts of sugar or the doses of cinnamon ended up affecting their energy levels. To do this, I plan on conducting the Negative Geotaxis Assay, and also conducting the Larval Locomotion Assay.
I chose to do my project relating to diabetes, as I personally have Type 1 Diabetes, and, even though I know a lot about Type 1, I don’t know as much about Type 2, and, as I couldn’t really think of a way to induce Type 1 into my flies, so I thought that inducing Type 2 would be interesting to study, and would help me to learn more about it!
Hi again. The last time I blogged, the TRIP program just started and we were learning how to feed fruit flies. Since then, I was able to learn how to conduct my own mini experiment and came up with an idea for my independent project. In my mini- experiment, I tested the effects of the herb, Rholodia, and dish-soap on fruit flies. From this study, I learned a couple of things: 1) Flies do not like dish soap 2) Most of the time, flies die when exposed to dish soap 3) Rholodia cannot save flies when they are exposed to dish soap. So the last couple of weeks have been really interesting.
Currently, we are underway in conducting our independent research projects. Every single person in the program is working so hard to make an interesting and successful experiment. After thinking about possible experiments to test, I found that I want to test the effects of Vape on fruit flies on fertility, offspring motility, and on the gut bacteria. I have seen numerous kids taking out flash drive looking tools taking puffs constantly. Many of those kids believe that Vape is not harmful and I am looking to test that theory on the fruit fly level. Hopefully I can conduct my experiment and get interesting results. Wish me luck!