Wow, I am in complete shock that TRIP is almost over, time seemed to FLY by so fast. Looking back on this program, I can honestly say it has been a wonderful experience and opportunity that I was lucky to be a part of. Every week of the program I learned a new skill from how to use a pipette to nearly drowning fruit flies to measure their depression. The instructors and TA’s were extremely helpful and made the program enjoyable. The time in the LAB was a challenge, but a fun one indeed! I went from not knowing how to sort fruit flies or even use animals in a lab to model human processes, to running my own experiments and sleep depriving flies.
To pick up where I left you off in my last blog, over the past few weeks I have been testing the effects of Sleep Deprivation and a Western Diet on Fruit Fly Mood, specifically depression and sociability. These two stressors were of great interest to me since the average American consumes over 3 times the healthy limit of sugar per day. The average American teen gets only 65% of the sleep they need. I was intrigued to study the effects of common stressors that everyday people experience on fruit flies. Current studies suggest that both a high sugar consumption and a lack of sleep correlate with extensive issues. Such as, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many more, but the mood issues associated with these stressors is less studied and proven which is why I was interested in these effects first hand. To collect my data I used two Assays called the Social Space Assay which measured the average distance between the fruit flies, and the Forced Swim Test which measured how long flies swim to determine how depressed they were.
What did the data show? Overall both sugar and sleep deprivation were shown to be bad for your mood in both tests. Sugar caused mostly slight negative effects while sleep deprivation was significantly worse, while the group with both stressors was by far the most affected.
Overall, TRIP is a wonderful program that undoubtedly helped me on my journey through life. I hope I can use the skills I learned in the future, and until next time, Nicholas Mento.