Hello everyone! My name is Eri, and this is my final blog post for the TRIP Initiative! My 11 weeks had some bumps and twists, but it was one of the most interesting experiences I have had this year.
According to my results, however, isolation not only led to more social anxiety, it resulted in a huge spike in aggressive behavior.
I researched the impact of isolation of aggression and social anxiety in flies. I came up with the project after reading about the impact of the quarantine on mental health. I knew that the pandemic had a severe impact on mental health, but I wondered whether economic/financial reasons or the isolation itself was at fault. I hypothesized that isolation would indeed lead to social anxiety, but I didn’t expect a spike in aggression. According to my results, however, isolation not only led to more social anxiety, it resulted in a huge spike in aggressive behavior. I came to this project after I read about how “hangry” fruit flies would flip each other over and attack each other. (There are a lot of cool videos on the internet!!) I knew that if they would attack because they were hangry, maybe they would attack if they were isolated.
My project was 70% preparing food for the vials. Unlike the other projects, I had to set up anywhere from 70 to 150 small vials individually. That meant that I had to measure 0.165 mg around 650 times! Otherwise, figuring out a new assay, the aggression assay, with Dr. Purdy and Dr. Leystra was incredibly rewarding. I can’t wait to try other assays and methodologies as I continue pursuing science in the future.
In order to test for social anxiety, I used the social space assay, which measures the distance between 5 flies in order to test if they want to socialize or not. It was a very easy assay to do, and almost therapeutic once I got the hang of it.
Overall, I’m very happy at what I achieved at TRIP, and I can’t wait to start other projects on my own.