Hi guys! It’s me, Kindu back again to tell you all just a little bit more about my independent project and how I’ve enjoyed being part of TRIP this summer. As I stated previously, my project centered around testing whether painkillers, such as Tylenol and Excedrin, would counteract the damage induced by concussion. Through the project, I was able to gain significant data, finish the experiment and gain insight into the process of research.
As for my experience at TRIP I absolutely loved it and if I could I’d do it all over again. Being in this program has not only opened my eyes up to the field of laboratory research, but given me insight to yet another creature that shares similar parts to human beings. I am overjoyed that I was able to be a participant in the program and do highly recommend it to undecided people who have a passion for science. It helps you push you mentally (regardless if you want to go into a science career or not), it gives you a great way to spend your summer as well as gives you a unique experience to put on your resume. All in all, I am glad I was able to be apart of the TRIP community and sad that it’s coming to an end so fast.
We’re at the finale! Our adventures with TRIP are coming to an end and I cannot express how much I’ll miss working with everyone in the lab. Being able to make so many friends and learn so much these past few weeks has really made me realize how much I love lab work. For my independent project, I’m studying the effects of Metformin on long term motility and development. Though I had the Negative Geotaxis Assay, which is relatively not too difficult, my second trial had so many issues. I’m convinced now that my greatest obstacle with my project was working with ice. While doing the Negative Geotaxis Assay, you tap the flies down to the bottom of their vials to study how fast they can respond against gravity. In order to separate your flies from the food vial (since the flies can get stuck in the food when you ta them down), ice helps keep them from flying away. I struggled so much with my flies getting stuck to the condensation of my petri dish. During my second trial, I had limited flies in my vials that survived, but coupled with the effects of ice, most flies wet, or even lost, their wings, preventing them from flying during the assay. Thankfully I didn’t lose all my flies! However, I did have a lot of flies that simply couldn’t perform the assay properly.
I hope my struggles haven’t deterred you! I promise it is all worth it! Everyone faces a little hardship while performing their independent projects. Especially since most of us have never done an independent project, Dr. Purdy and Miss. P really helped ease the stress. The instructors for TRIP are phenomenal! I can’t thank Pooja, Surali, and Erica enough for their help as lab assistants!
As the last session of TRIP has finished, I sift through my hard-earned data, I put the finishing touches on my presentations, and I reflect on how far I've come since the first session in July. Okay, I’m sorry that was mushy.
Before I start talking about how much I am going to miss this program, lets talk about the end of my independent project. So I left off here talking about my plans for my independent, a little larvae locomotion here, maybe a centrophobism test there, microbiome assay there. A lot has changed. I’ve embraced the changes though and I’ve learned that’s just science. So what did I end up doing for my experiments? What did I actually test? Well, 28 vials of and over 1600 flies later… I finished by performing the negative geotaxis assay on adult male flies, and then I used the same flies in the microbiome assay to test the effects BPA and BPA and kimchi (contains probiotics) has on the health and gut microbiome of the fly. I remember after the first day I tested negative geotaxis, I felt so stressed and extremely despised doing the assay, especially the “sorting on ice” part. I felt my data had all types of variables affecting it like using flies that I accidentally got its leg stuck to itself so it couldn’t jump…. Anyway, I talked to Dr. Gardiner the next day and she could totally tell I really did not want to continue with the assay. However, she told me to do it again and see if I get any better results. Wow, I am really glad I stuck with the assay, because it ended up yielding some of my most interesting results! And overtime, with the help of Dr. Purdy and Dr. Gardiner I learned helpful techniques so I wouldn’t despise sorting on ice anymore.
TRIP has honestly taught me so much, and my learning has not been limited to just science. I’ve learned time management skills, when I need to reach out and ask for help, and most importantly how to bounce back when things don’t always go as planned. As for the more science-y part of my learning, asking scientific questions and being able to quench my curiosity by conducting my own experiments all the while working alongside other amazing TRIP students and incredibly brilliant instructors and TAs is an experience you truly cannot beat. This program has opened my perspective to the science field and has showed me science does not just mean scary formulas and calculating the speed of light. It involves so much creativity, communication, and fast thinking that I never would have discovered if I had not done this program. If you are interested in applying to this program, I HIGHLY recommend it! :) It is pretty intense, i’ll admit that, but as my first experience as a researcher (while still in High School which is pretty crazy) I am so grateful I got the opportunity to be apart of this program and will never forget the amazing memories I have made at TRIP.
P.S. Please enjoy the fabulous pictures we took on the last few sessions of TRIP