Time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe I am already approaching Week 6 of TRIP. The past few weeks, I conducted my kickoff experiment examining the effect of valerian and constant darkness on female fertility. Using the female fertility assay, I quantified the number of embryos per female and the % hatching of embryos. More embryos per female and a greater % hatching indicate that the females are more fertile and produce more viable offspring. My results indicate that both valerian and constant darkness increase female fertility. However, I was surprised to see that many of the flies in the constant darkness vial died after the first 7 days, thus indicating the negative effects of a disrupted circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). By combining valerian and constant darkness, not only did female fertility increase the most, but some of the negative effects of constant darkness were also ameliorated. Besides collecting data for my assay, I also learned how to collect developmental data by looking at the total number of pupal cases and then calculating the % eclosion (empty pupal cases/total pupal cases).
In addition to learning basic lab skills such as making fly food, making grape plates, and sorting flies using CO2, I have seen how science is a process of trial and error. Sometimes you lose a couple of flies when transferring flies between vials or have difficulty distinguishing between an unhatched embryo versus a larva — and that’s ok. Some skills are harder to master at first such as sorting flies efficiently. However, I believe with practice, I will be sorting flies quicker in the coming weeks. Since the moment I stepped into the lab about 5 weeks ago, I have definitely grown as an aspiring scientist. For this, I am grateful for Dr. Purdy, Dr. Leystra, the TAs Austin and Keith, and my TRIP classmates.
Looking ahead, for my independent project I am interested in comparing the effects of red yeast rice versus CoQ10 on overall health due to a personal connection to this topic. CoQ10 is a dietary supplement that helps improve heart health. My uncle takes various dietary supplements including CoQ10. After finding out that CoQ10 can be derived from red yeast rice, which is found in fermented red bean curd and other Chinese foods, I was curious about whether my uncle could eat foods with red yeast rice instead of taking CoQ10 tablets for similar health benefits. I look forward to examining this question in the coming weeks.
Hi again, readers! These past few weeks have flown by quicker than fruit flies escape from the vials—and all of my TRIPmates would certainly agree that they’re pretty quick. But in all seriousness, I’ve had a lot of fun creating solutions, sorting fruit flies, presenting to the class and performing behavioral assays. My fantastic peers have certainly assisted me along the way and I have enjoyed getting to know them a little bit more.
Fruit fly development has also been a blast to watch and since I absolutely enjoy counting birds, counting the number of pupae in a fly vial isn’t much different. Similarly, contrary to the reaction of some of my peers, I was delighted to have the opportunity to sort fruit flies into specific quantities. I enjoyed picking out the details between male and female flies, noting particular postures and field marks, just like with bird identification.
For my introductory experiment, I determined how the yellow flower typically used for depression, St. John’s Wort, along with head trauma, affects anxiety levels in the flies. Using my newly acquired knowledge about making solutions and inducing head trauma, I inflicted these onto my flies. After waiting a few weeks, I performed the open field test assay, measuring how anxious flies generally gravitate toward the edge of a container while unconcerned flies generally stay toward the center. I concluded that flies with St. John’s Wort were less anxious than those with head trauma. Interestingly, the St. John’s Wort flies seemed to develop slower than the rest.
I decided to research how monosodium glutamate (MSG) affects fruit fly fertility
Now for the thing that’s been on my mind for nearly half a year now—my independent project! After a bit of deliberation, I decided to research how monosodium glutamate (MSG) affects fruit fly fertility. MSG has been involved in much of the average person’s daily diet, including my own. As a common ingredient in many diets, MSG has been subject to many conflicting studies about its true effects on your health. As a result, I plan on testing their fertility while recording developmental data. I’m excited to see how my results turn out and if I can help contribute to the MSG debate scientifically!
It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through the program already! The past few weeks have involved a lot of learning, experimenting, and collaboration. It’s also been really enjoyable getting to know everyone more!
For my independent project—after spending quite a while trying to sift through my ideas, I finally settled on noise pollution and its effects on overall health. Noise pollution is a major problem, especially in cities, that many people don’t even realize exists. It’s often overlooked because it’s not a tangible form of pollution the way air and water pollution are, but it’s pretty important as well! I experienced it a bit when I did a summer camp in the city. To me, it wasn’t too much more than an incredible nuisance, but studies show that, long term, it has adverse effects on sleep, stress, blood pressure, and more. Last time I was in the lab, we were working on fine-tuning our proposals for our independent planning projects. After a lot of planning, planning, and more planning, I now have a pretty solid idea of what I will be doing! I will be using the female fertility assay and also analyzing developmental data which will allow me to observe effects on oogenesis, spermatogenesis, embryogenesis, and overall health.
I finally settled on noise pollution and its effects on overall health
Next Saturday, I’ll be officially starting my project. I can’t wait to get started! Thanks for following along so far, and I’ll be back with more updates in no time!
I am finishing up my kick-off experiments, which, if you do not remember, focused on the effects of Ginkgo Biloba as a medicinal tool to treat brain damage. To do this, I treated the flies to a negative geotaxis assay, which generally measured their brain activity, as well as taking developmental data. Surprisingly, Ginkgo Biloba is an excellent brain healing tool!
In terms of my independent project, I am interested in the effects of a relatively new drug. Kratom. It is an opioid adjacent substance whose research is very limited. From what we know, it acts as a stimulant at low doses and as a inhibitor at high doses, it also demonstrates the common pitfalls of opioids, its addictive nature, contribution to liver failure, and permanent neurological damage. I believe that researching Kratom on flies can provide a translational red flag for more research that can hopefully build into conclusive data regarding higher order animals such as primates or humans.
The first few weeks in the program have flown by swiftly. However, reflecting on the past few weeks has shown me how much I have learned. We are only halfway through, and I have grown much as a scientist and person! The program has taught me how to analyze data, work with fruit flies, and, most importantly…work through new and challenging situations through problem-solving! Critically thinking about a problem can offer a unique solution that may not be as obvious at first sight! Additionally, throughout the first few weeks, I have connected with the other TRIP professors and members, making meaningful friendships.
My interest in blue light prompted me to analyze the effect of long-term exposure to blue light on adult memory
My interest in blue light prompted me to analyze the effect of long-term exposure to blue light on adult memory. I plan to expose fruit flies to increasing amounts of blue light and quantify their memory through the Adult Memory Assay! The Adult Memory Assay consists of negative reinforcement tasks where the flies are exposed to one scent, which they associate with a negative action, and another scent, which they associate with a positive action. I am hopeful this experiment will be successful in the coming weeks and reveal something about the long-term effects of blue light. In the coming weeks, I will record data and perform my experiment! I will keep everyone updated! See you in a little.
This initial experiment was exciting to run. It was fascinating to perform the “Social Space Assay” which places fruit flies in small social chambers. The closer they are the more “sociable” they are and vice versa. Although presenting this information was a different story… Personally, I’ve never been the greatest presenter and that’s not something I’m ashamed of but I received helpful feedback to hopefully improve my presentation skills.
Other than that I finally get to create my own experiment. I’d say the hardest part was actually creating one, at first I really thought I had a great idea but it turns out that it wasn’t good enough. Luckily I was able to come up with something. As of lately I haven’t been able to fall asleep without the sound of my fan. This then led me to think about White Noise along with the different colors of noise. Different colors of noises have different properties ranging from frequencies to amplitude. This led me to wonder which sound would be the best for memory. In order to test their effectiveness I will perform the larval memory assay, where I would condition larvae to associate a smell with a sound. Then I would create two sides, one that is conditioned and the other not conditioned to see if the larvae remembered the sound. That’s just a barebone explanation of the assay but I just can’t wait to see the results!
Hi everybody! Sitting in the lab right now. Counting up some pupae. Loving this developmental data collection. I truly savor every moment in the lab: soaking up knowledge from the instructors, TAs, my labmates, and of course, the fruit flies.
After everyone’s amazing kick-off presentation, we got started on independent project brainstorming. To give some context for my decisions, note that I have hyperhidrosis in my hands, meaning that my palms are always sweaty. Smudged pen and damp papers have always been victims. Handshakes are my worst enemy. When consulting a doctor about my condition, I was prescribed an antiperspirant with aluminum compounds. The doctor was hesitant about this option, given the recent controversy of aluminum as a carcinogen. However, there are no non-aluminum antiperspirant solutions to palm hyperhidrosis, other than a botox injection! Aluminum compounds in deodorant and antiperspirants have spiked controversy due to the concern about it causing breast-cancer by increasing levels of estrogen.It is not just found in MY prescribed hand antiperspirant though. Although non-aluminum deodorants exist, many of the popular brands and aerosols used by people daily have high amounts of aluminum. Given this controversy, I want to research the long-term effects of aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants on female and male fertility.
I want to research the long-term effects of aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants on female and male fertility.
After discussing my project with Dr. Purdy, I grew even fonder of my research idea. We had to adjust many things but landed on a solid and feasible topic. According to our planning calculations, due to the flies' fast reproduction rate, I will be able to conduct an assay on two grandchildren! How cool is that?! This means I will have to be extremely organized in my processes so I do not accidentally mix up generations. I am most excited to see the results of this study as it directly impacts my health and many others. I am also excited to see my labmates' projects. I enjoy spending my Saturdays with them and look forward to hearing about their interesting independent research projects!
Hey again everyone! It's already Week 6 and I'm back to tell you all about how my kickoff experiment went! Lot's of new knowledge has flooded my brain but I'm lovin’ it! From staring at small, wriggling larvae to creating grape plates, I've learned so much in the short amount of time I've spent at TRIP. Ah right, the kickoff experiment! To recap, I looked into how Valerian and a high sugar diet affect fruit fly anxiety levels. I conducted the Open Field Test, an assay measuring fly distance traveled and amount of time spent near the center of assay, all in order to determine fruit fly anxiety levels.
From my results, all of the flies seemed to be really anxious. I guess that's what you get when you constantly hover over them and constantly knock them out! That's what practice is for, right? All in all, the kickoff experiment was loads of fun. It was definitely a challenging, and very rewarding, experience. It helped me to get more experience on my lab skills, such as pipetting and my ability to handle the fruit flies (we won't talk about the ones that escaped).
I wouldn't say that it's all set in stone yet, but I'll make sure that I fill you all in next time. Hopefully I can gather some delectable data! See you all in a bit!
Hey guys! A lot has happened since my last update! For starters, I completed and presented the kickoff experiment. I was testing how fenugreek and a high sugar diet affects female fertility. I learned that fenugreek increases female fertility by A LOT, about 5 embryos per fly to be more precise, and a high sugar diet decreases it. However, I learned so much more than that. I realized that I have to be really gentle when separating flies otherwise I accidentally decapitate them. I should also create a better system for counting flies. Also, I found that it’s important to learn what an embryo looks like, so you don’t mistake it for some yeast. As far as presentations went, I had the “fortunate” opportunity of going first in my group. Luckily, everyone was really supportive and asked me amazing questions about my project.
I’m considering studying the effects of turmeric powder on fly mobility
TRIP has been such an amazing experience so far, and I can’t wait to see where I go with my independent experiment. I’ll let you all know how my experiment works out, but for now I have to do some more math. Until next time, everyone!
Over the past 5 weeks, I've been thoroughly enjoying TRIP and eagerly looking forward to my Saturday mornings when I get to come into the TRIP lab. Working alongside Dr. Leystra, Dr. Purdy, the TAs, and my fellow TRIP-mates has been an amazing experience. I've gained valuable skills in micropipetting liquids,sorting fruit flies, and running experiments over the past three weeks.
We are currently at the midpoint of our TRIP program, having completed 5 weeks, and it's been quite an eventful ride so far! Personally, I've been focused on my introductory project, exploring the impact of soap and vitamin D3 on fly motility. My study involved using vitamin D3, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as the drug, and soap, which gives the flies intestinal inflammation, as the stressor. In order to test the effects of my drug and stressor I used the Negative Geotaxis assay. The Negative Geotaxis assay is a commonly used behavioral assay in which the ability of insects, such as fruit flies, to climb up a vial is measured. The assay involves placing a group of flies at the bottom of a vial or a narrow chamber and then gently tapping the flies to the bottom of the chamber. The flies will then try to climb up the chamber due to their innate negative geotaxis behavior. The assay is often used to assess the effects of genetic mutations, drugs, or environmental factors on fly behavior and can provide insights into various neurological and developmental processes. Through my Negative Geotaxis assay I learned that the effects of soap outweighed the anti-inflammatory effects of the Vitamin D3. I then presented my findings to my peers and learned a multitude of different techniques that can help me become a better presenter.
Additionally, I began working on developing my independent project. The idea that finally entranced me was studying the effects of amphetamines like Adderall on people who do not suffer from ADHD. It is important to test the effects of amphetamines on non-prescribed patients because amphetamines are a stimulant medication that potentially can be misused or abused by individuals seeking to enhance cognitive performance, increase energy levels, or lose weight. These medications have a high potential for addiction and can lead to adverse side effects, such as heart problems, sleep disturbances, and mood changes. Additionally, using amphetamines without a medical need can lead to dependence and may increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Therefore, it is important to understand the risks and benefits of these medications, particularly in individuals without ADHD, to prevent their misuse and ensure their safe and effective use in the treatment of ADHD. I am looking forward to setting up my experiment next week, and writing to you all again!