Hi again! I’m back to tell you all about my experiences so far in TRIP and my upcoming independent project.
So far, TRIP has been an amazing experience from the new people I have met to the cool things I have learned. At first, the piles of fruit flies we had to sort were pretty disgusting but I think I’m pretty much desensitized to the sight now. The first assay I did was the negative geotaxis assay where I tested the effects of head trauma and ginkgo biloba on the flies. The experience has taught me a lot about how to handle the flies, research techniques, how to effectively communicate my ideas, and overall made me more curious about research. I can’t wait for the coming weeks when I can test out and answer my own questions!
For the next several weeks, I will be trying to answer the question: How are fly activity and memory affected by constant darkness and can adrafinil reverse these effects? Commercial and military pilots often have to endure long flights causing disruptions to their circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. As a result, some pilots opt to take a prescription drug called modafinil that essentially makes them more alert and focused. However, because I don’t have access to modafinil, I want to see how adrafinil -- which is similar to modafinil but has decreased effects and acts more slowly -- would work to counter the effects of a disrupted circadian rhythm. This topic is important because it is critical that pilots stay awake and alert at all times (as you probably know), so it is necessary to find a variety of dietary/drug supplements that can keep pilots focused on the job.
I will test the effectiveness of adrafinil through the use of a negative geotaxis assay to analyze the relative activity levels of the flies. I will also perform an adult fly memory assay to see the effects a disrupted circadian cycle and the drug on the memory of the flies. We’ll see how it goes!