Hello again! I can’t believe we’re more than halfway through the program. So far, we’ve been doing our screen projects, which were assigned experiments to teach us how we can best conduct our own independent projects. We’ve gained much of the needed knowledge to work in a fly lab, and learned much of the basics such as pipetting, knocking out the flies, sorting the flies, collecting developmental data and so much more. I’ve gone from nervous and unsure to comfortable and confident (more so at least) in the lab. We’ve also learned information that can be applied outside of the lab, such as presentation skills and career paths that will come in handy as we progress through our lives. I’ve met so many new, brilliant people and have had so much fun inside and outside the lab. I’m feeling more a part of the TRIP family every day and can honestly say I’m exceedingly comfortable and happy as we go into each lab session. Now, as we’re madly preparing for our independent project, I’ll go ahead and briefly introduce mine
Have you ever been told that all fats are fiends? Have you ever been told that if we consume too much, we’ll become obese, and have a myriad of health problems? Though this warning remains helpful while we’re navigating through the menu at McDonalds, it does not necessarily remain true for ALL fats. One such type of fat is Omega 3 fatty acids which can be found in certain types of fish and nuts. Though having large amounts of Omega 3 in your diet can provoke a lot of health benefits, one I’m most interested in is its effect on neurodegenerative diseases. It is well-established that Omega 3 can benefit those with Alzheimer’s, however I want to look into how it may help those with Parkinson’s, another neurodegenerative disease for which 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with every year.
How are we going to give the flies Parkinson’s? Well, studies have shown that an herbicide called Paraquat induces Parkinson’s-like symptoms. Since we can’t necessarily ask the flies to what extent the Paraquat is affecting them, I’ve decided to do a negative geotaxis assay to test motility.
For the past couple years, I have harbored an interest in microbiology. So naturally, upon hearing and reading about the microbiome test, I knew it was something I had to try and incorporate into my experiment. Parkinson’s has been looked into as having some effects on the microbiome in terms of diversity and what genera are present. So finally, my experiment question became: “How does Paraquat and Omega 3 fatty acids affect the microbiome?”.