For the last couple of weeks, I have been exploring my own experimental question, which explores the impact of taurine on anxiety and gut health. I was first interested in this because of how many teenagers drink energy drinks, including myself. I have seen adverse effects in my own health, especially in the increase in my anxiety since beginning to drink energy drinks. Since the start, I have been drugging my flies in increasing amounts to see the effects of taurine in amounts equal to drinking 20-200 cans each day. It’s been so fun getting to perform all of the different assays in the lab. RIP to all the flies I had to sacrifice for the greater good, but boy was it fun to perform the microbiome assay.
In my results, I have seen that taurine increases anxiety in fruit flies in the short term, and even more so in the long term. This is really interesting to me because I saw that the children of the flies can be affected by the taurine. I also found that taurine has negative effects on the gut health of the fruit flies, with much less gut bacteria in the microbiome of the flies that ingested the drug. I was really glad that the results of my independent project turned out to be what I hypothesized, and I learned so much over the course of this TRIP session.
The TRIP community has been so welcoming and I am so glad that I decided to apply to the program last year. These past weeks have been pretty stressful, but I am so grateful for the experience I got to have in the lab and for the connections I got to make. I have learned so many things that I never thought I would know, including how to correctly crush up flies and analyze their gut bacteria. I have also learned so many things surrounding how to improve my public speaking and presentation skills. Overall, I have loved my time here, and learned how much I truly appreciate science.