Wow. I can’t believe how fast this TRIP has gone. It feels like just yesterday I was walking into the lab for the first time, all excited and ready to be a real scientific researcher, but it has really been over three months of rigorous, challenging, and completely rewarding work. I never dreamed that in just 10 weeks, I could learn how to micropipette, sort flies, make bubbling solutions, and even collect and analyze bacteria! With the help of the instructors and TAs, however, as I have learned, anything is possible.
Now, you would think that because nitrate is a toxin and it is found in contaminated water, it would be bad for your health. Surprisingly, it’s not that simple. Nitrate is found in your gut microbiome, which is a place full of bacteria in your digestive tract that maintains your health. So, if nitrate is simultaneously found in your body but also is a contaminant, how exactly does it impact your health? That’s what I set out to find. Since more bacteria in your gut means more diversity, which in turn leads to better health, I measured how much and what type of bacterial colonies were formed from the fruit flies’s gut to quantify my findings.
What we can take away from this is that nitrate’s functions are complicated, and that maybe nitrate isn’t the leading reason for the adverse health effects of contaminated water. Still, it’ll take a lot more research and testing (something that I’ve learned is very common in science) to make more conclusive results, which I’m ready to do, even if my time at TRIP is over.
If there’s anything my time at TRIP has taught me, it is that it’s ok to make mistakes.
If there’s anything my time at TRIP has taught me, it is that it’s ok to make mistakes. No one expects you to be amazing at something the first time you do it, as I learned when I tried to streak my own bacterial plates (diluting bacteria is not as easy as it looks). With the help of everyone in the program, however, I’ve managed to gain some key skills that will definitely benefit my future plans. And thanks to TRIP, I now know that those places will involve a lab in some way.