The past three months at TRIP have passed by in a blur. Now, reflecting on the many weeks we conducted our independent research, I’ve seen how much I’ve learned. That is, not just about science, but also as a person! When I last wrote about my experiences in the lab, I had been doing background research on wildfire smoke impacts on health, and now I’m a couple days away from presenting what I’ve found! This topic stemmed from my interest in the environmental sciences; specifically about human impacts on the planet.
My next step was to figure out a way to test how acute exposures of wildfire smoke impact memory. I decided to use the adult memory assay to gauge adult memory after exposures. In order to complete the assay, the first thing I did was separate 15 adult males from my experimental groups. Then, I trained them to associate a banana scent with a negative reward through hot water exposure and to associate a pineapple scent with a positive reward through room temperature water exposure. To test if the flies were able to remember their training, I assessed whether or not they would be able to recollect the positive reward (pineapple scent). Through these tests, the flies that were exposed seven days ago (long exposure) and exposed the day of (acute exposure) experienced the greatest decline in memory.
“Do different exposure times impact developmental cognition?”
In the past three months, I can not believe how much I have grown and learned through the TRIP Initiative. At the beginning of the program, I was overwhelmed by the countless dilution calculations and the tedious fruit fly sorting process. But now, it’s become much smoother and quicker. Aside from the skills I’ve gained as a researcher, I was also able to gain insight into the science profession through the career talks that were held throughout. Not only that, I learned from and made friends with a group of intelligent and dynamic peers! I’d like to thank Dr. Purdy, Dr. Leystra, Austin, Keith for making TRIP amazing!