It’s already the third day of TRIP, and I must say, I’m very impressed by all the other members and the coordinators of the program. It’s lots of fun, the environment is relaxed, we’re incredibly productive, and everyone’s extremely nice. On the first day, we learned the basics of what we’ll be doing, set up fly food vials (with and without a drug of our choice), and created grape plates. The drugs we chose affected everything on the scale from fertility to anxiety to metabolism. On the second day, we put some of those flies under stress and learned how to sort them.
Today, we finally got a look at how our flies are developing and measured behavioral assays. For this introduction experiment, I chose the drug Valerian, meant to help with anxiety and insomnia. I combined this with a head trauma hit at a 40 degree angle, 3 times, from something that closely resembles some sort of medieval torture device. Then, the behavioral assay I observed was social space, which indicates the mood or condition of the flies—the further apart they stand from each other, the more stressed, upset, and anti-social they seem to be. Can you believe it? Anti-social flies! Gosh, it’s almost as if these flies have behaviors similar to humans. (Hint: They do. That’s why they’re used in labs.)
However, the results I personally received were unexpected and inconclusive, and this is likely due to experimental errors. As this was our first time trying to measure these aspects, we each learned the dos and don’ts, and we’ll be presenting our results and advice to the rest of the lab on Thursday.
Author: Sasha Temerte