While the fundamental idea behind my independent project was pretty solid, these past couple sessions have served as important times for hashing out the finer details. Through some thorough planning and valuable input from my mentors, here is my idea! The essential question is what are the effects of curcumin in reducing inflammation in flies, induced by sodium nitrite. To expand, curcumin is a chemical substance found in the common spice, turmeric. Throughout my life, I have certainly become familiarized with turmeric, both as a part of Indian cooking and as a natural remedy for minor ailments. Therefore, when exploring the world of natural drugs to use in my experiment, turmeric was an exciting find as an anti-inflammatory agent.
The second component of my experiment, sodium nitrite, has less of a familiar and intimate relation with me, but has still garnered a great deal of intrigue and fascination in my mind. When developing the project, I was certain that I needed to address curcumin as a potential anti-inflammatory. There, however, needed to be some external factor that incited inflammation in the flies. Initially, I was considering the protein, actin, which could cause inflammation if injected based on the theory of how inflammation manifests in organisms’ bodies. Yet, this method was not feasible given my capabilities. Therefore, my mentors guided me towards another more straightforward means of inducing inflammation, which was having the flies ingest sodium nitrite. The sodium nitrite, acting as a reactive oxygen species in the flies’ digestion, should result in successful inflammation.
The planning stages of my project were slightly tedious seeing as I went through several project ideas and experimental paths regarding what drugs to use, observing long-term or short-term effects, what assays or combination of assays to employ, etc. To resolve a few of the aforementioned questions, I have decided to choose a more short-term observation of the effect of curcumin/sodium nitrite on the flies, while abiding by the fly development cycle to ensure I have enough viable adults to make observations each week. The assays I am utilizing to measure the effect of inflammation are the motility/locomotion assays: negative geotaxis (females) and the male mating ritual dance (males). The first day of independent exploits went rather smoothly and dealt with creating the drug-concentrated stocks, creating food vials, and sorting flies. While time-consuming, these processes were accurate representations of lab etiquette and what to expect when conducting hands-on scientific research. As a whole, the course, thus far, has been incredibly informative on lab procedure, research project management, biology and chemistry concepts (drug concentrations, development, fertility) and, more importantly, has provided an invaluable period for fostering friendships and developing the TRIP family.
Hey everyone, it’s Humza again! TRIP has been an amazing experience so far. Everyone at TRIP is very supportive and are always willing to give a hand. So far we have done one experiment. I tested the effect of Ginkgo Biloba on head trauma. That was really cool, especially since I got to whack the flies on the head. Progressing through the program I have learned not only lab skills, but also science communication as well as careers in science. This program has been teaching me patience, especially when counting the pupae, and has shown me how to become more creative. This enabled me to form my own project!
My independent project revolves around the acid reducer Zantac. In Turkey, a Turkish doctor said that this drug causes anxiety, and further research alluded to this drug diminishing gut bacteria. Based on these sources, I want to see how this drug affects the fly mood and gut microbiome. I will perform a Open Field Test (centrophobism) to see how anxious the flies are, and a bacteria assay to quantify the gut bacteria of the fly. I will also be comparing the long term effect of Zantac to the short term effect. During my project, I will also collect developmental data to see how the drug affects development. I hope my projects yield very interesting results. I will keep you all posted on how its going.
For my independent project, I will be testing the impact of cigarettes on the social interaction between flies. I will also be testing to see what method of quitting is better - weaning off or going cold turkey. To test these two ideas, I will be creating 4 groups of flies, a control group, a weaning group which will slowly lower have their intake of cigarettes reduced, a “Cold Turkey” group which will quit cigarettes after a few days and a constant smoking group, which will smoke throughout the entire experiment. I’m doing this project because I have a lotta family members who smoke and I am sure that some research I do on flies will change their mind...jk!!
As of right now, I believe that the “Cold Turkey” group will struggle immediately after they quit smoking, due to withdraw. I believe, after the first few days of withdraw, they will become very interactive again. And go back to normal by the end of the experiment. For the weaning off group, however, I believe they will still be slightly more anxious than the ‘Cold Turkey’ flies. I say this because the “Cold Turkey” group has had more time to overcome their withdrawal. By this I mean, the “Cold Turkey” group will have about a week with no cigarettes in their food, while the weaning group will only have 2 days. These are just predictions but I am incredibly excited to see how this will turn out.
Hello! My name is Abby Clark, and I go to Manheim Township High School in Lancaster, PA. I decided to join the TRIP Initiative due to my passion for science, particularly Chemistry and Biology. My favorite experiences in my scientific journey have been observing medical procedures and doing labs in which I was given a goal but no procedure, and I would have to determine the best way to tackle the lab. Both problem-solving and analyzing experimental results captivate me, which is why TRIP is so exciting to me. In the future I plan to further pursue cancer research to find more effective and quicker cures for cancer.
On another note, I have been a cross country runner since the seventh grade and will continue running this fall as a senior. During the spring I continue to run as a Girls on the Run coach, which is very fun, as I coach 3rd and 4th graders who are very silly and energetic. I am also a part of my school’s performing arts program because I absolutely love theatre, and I am the Vice President of our Interact Club. An interesting fact about me is that I've kind of lived all over the place; I've lived in Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas, China, and now Pennsylvania. I am very excited to find out where I will end up next for college!