It feels like just yesterday I was baffled at the fact that I’d be working with fruit flies for the next 12 weekends! But here we are, at the end of TRIP. I’ve met some of my closest friends, learned from the best mentors, and grown as a student, researcher, and person.
Over the past 8 weeks, I have been trying to answer my research question: What are the short-term and long-term effects of levosalbutamol, budesonide-formoterol, and budesonide on anxiety? How do these bronchodilators affect development? I was inspired to answer this question because of my own experiences battling asthma in the past. I wanted to see if there was a connection with anxiety and these medications. I initially thought that the drugs with steroids would cause the most short-term anxiety, but my experiment showed otherwise! I found that, in the short term, levosalbutamol caused the most anxiety with budesonide-formoterol being a close second, while budesonide (the one with the most concentration of steroid) proved to cause the least amount of anxiety. I also saw that anxiety increased rather than decreased in the long term when the flies were exposed to the drug only once in the beginning.
My results were the exact opposite from what I had expected—why would steroids decrease anxiety? While I would definitely need to do more experiments and study the side effects of each of these drugs in more detail, I learned so many invaluable things during the scientific process through TRIP. From doing assays on the wrong vials and killing most of my flies in the drugging processes, I have used my failures to improve my understanding of procedures and be more efficient in the lab. I’ve also been able to connect with so many other students from my TRIP session, as well as practice my presentation skills for the TRIP Symposium.
At TRIP, I also found ways to pursue my other passions. As a graphic design enthusiast, I spent some of my time over Spring Break designing a new TRIP logo! I am so excited for my logo to be adopted on the website and on all TRIP marketing materials. I’ve also had a blast designing my TRIP presentation and learning how to use effective graphic design techniques to tell my experimental story while keeping an audience engaged. I hope to continue helping with TRIP’s marketing efforts and use my unique skills to help others. I never would have thought that I could use and improve these skills during TRIP, but now I know that design plays a significant role in almost any field of study!
I’m going to miss spending my time in the lab every Saturday and frantically running around from one room to the next, learning (and initially failing) to multitask as I conducted my experiments. TRIP has shown me how exciting STEM can be when surrounded by people who are just as motivated and excited to learn as I am. I could not have asked for a better twelve weeks learning how to research with flies, designing experimental procedures, following assays, completing drug calculations, collecting and analyzing data, and giving presentations. Thank you to Dr. Purdy and Dr. Leystra for organizing this amazing program; I am so grateful for everything you have done for all of us at TRIP!