As we start the THIRD week of TRIP (how has it been 3 weeks already??), we have just begun our independent experiments. The first two weeks consisted of lots of lectures and introductions to procedures to get the feel for it. Going into the program, I must say I was super confused and wasn’t sure whether or not I would be able to pull off an independent experiment, but after just two weeks I feel so much better about it!
At the end of last week, we decided what our independent projects would be on, and I have decided to test the effect of artificial sweeteners such as Stevia and Splenda on flies’ fertility and gut microbiomes in comparison to natural cane sugar. I chose this topic because I had always grown up hearing my parents always tell me to eat healthy, whole, organic foods whenever possible. However, as I became involved in fitness in my teenage years, I discovered the concept of calories and how even though a food might be considered “healthy”, it may be extremely calorically dense. When someone tries to lose weight, their results ultimately come down from calories in vs calories out, no matter the supposed health benefits of a food. Thus, I discovered zero calorie options such as Splenda and Stevia to replace highly caloric foods such as normal sugar. However, after a while, I began to wonder if calories were really all that mattered when it came down to health. Health is so much more than just how much someone weighs – it includes their fertility, their gut health, and their overall health of their body systems. So, I wanted to see if there are any adverse side effects to cheating the calories of sugar.
So far, my least favorite activity I think is sorting the flies, however I am going to have to sort many more because I am doing the female fertility assay. I find that it is the most tedious task and is often very difficult to decipher between sexes, but I know it is very necessary to continue with my project. Compared to my peers, I find it takes me longer to sort them, but by the end of the program, hopefully I can sort them faster than Dr. Leystra!
As I began making my drug stocks, I realized I may have made them too diluted to see any results. I decided to test the effect of consuming the equivalent of one packet of each of my drugs would have on the flies, however I suspect that one packet may not be enough to see results. I’ll track my flies and see how it goes, and I can’t wait to see what I find out!