Hello! It’s been a while since I last checked in. Over these past few weeks, I can confidently say that I have learned a lot, from our introductory experiments up to our first day of independent project setup. For my introductory experiment, I was assigned to run the centrophobism assay to measure the effects of St. John’s Wort and constant darkness on anxiety by measuring the number of times a fly crossed the center of an agar plate. Prior to even running this assay, it became apparent that sorting flies was my weakness. It took me almost an hour to get enough flies in each of the four vials! At least there was room for improvement. The next week, I ran the centrophobism assay and collected data. I first tried to measure the distance between the flies and the center of each plate, but I then realized it would be way more convenient to measure the number of times they crossed the center. You would think that St. John’s Wort or constant darkness would have SOME effect on the flies behavior, right? Well, my flies were being obnoxious, as they all just chilled around the edges of their plates. My entire data table just consisted of zeroes. But I took away some valuable skills from running this assay, and I learned a lot about other assays when we each presented our own. It’s more about the TRIP, not the destination!
Now, it was time to come up with our independent projects. I won’t lie, it took me a lot of brainstorming to come up with an idea to test. After refactoring my experimental plan a countless number of times, I settled on: What are the effects of Nicotine and Ginseng on sociability?
To quantify something as broad as sociability, I will be measuring distances between flies in a control chamber over the next few weeks. I have already set up four experimental vials this past week with the right dilutions of nicotine and ginseng in each of them. I had to use multiple stocks to dilute the concentration of these substances, and the math to calculate the stocks was tedious, to say the least. Because of my experience sorting flies, though, it only took me around thirty minutes to sort and get them in the vials this time! I am excited to see how the flies are doing next session! Hopefully I get better data than from the first experiment…