Hello Everyone, it’s Charlotte (again)! As we conclude day 6 of the program, I can’t believe how quickly these past 3 weeks have flown by. When we first started our introductory experiments, I was shocked at the detail that was needed to perform each assay and analyze our data, even though we already had our research questions provided! I performed the Open Field Test to measure the anxiety levels of my flies and analyzed the data, which I found to be repetitive, but still interesting and eye opening!
Now, moving on to my independent project! When I was brainstorming ideas for my project, I was immediately drawn to the gut due to the variety of assay options that studying the gut offers, but more importantly because I was enthralled by its biomechanics and how food can affect such important structures. Once I narrowed down my topic to the gut, it was natural for me to test how spice and vinegar affects it. My family is from Malaysia and China, and for our household, high spice tolerance is practically a requirement. However, my grandparents frequently send articles talking about how high levels of spice correlate to gastrointestinal problems and diseases. When I did further research, I found that vinegar and pickled foods could counteract some negative effects that are triggered by spice, such as heartburn. Thus, I’m studying how spice affects gut permeability and health, and whether pickled foods can counteract that effect.