In the past two weeks, I have also been working on planning my independent research project. Initially, I decided that I wanted to study the effects that UV radiation and ginkgo biloba had on the occurrence of dementia-related diseases on both parental and offspring generations. My interest in dementia particularly stemmed from past personal experiences and also my profound interest in the field of neurology. Additionally, there is not a lot of conclusive research that can be found currently on the subject. However, seeing that UV radiation can affect more than just the brain and that it would be particularly difficult to consider and pinpoint the side effects that it may have on the fly. I decided to stick with another project that I was also equally interested in which was investigating the effects of vitamin B6 and overcrowding on the microbiome.
Again, my love for neurology and also the enteric nervous system really piqued my interest in studying the composition and density of the microbiome. Did you know that the gut acts like your second brain? The composition of the gut microbiome can have a profound impact on how one feels and behaves. Just like the research on dementia, there isn’t much information that can be found on this relationship and the chemistry behind it. Through my research, I hope to investigate this further. After exposing flies to my stressor (overcrowding) and drug (Vitamin B6), I will analyze the bacterial and chemical content of their microbiomes. Later on, I hope to take this further by using PCR, identifying the specific bacteria present.
After completing my experimental plan, I worked along with Dr. Gardiner and a few other of my classmates to finalize it. They each provided me with some very helpful constructive criticism that I believe will better my experiment. This week, I will be sorting flies (something I definitely feel more comfortable doing now) and doing some final preparations in order to move on with my research. Overall, these past couple of weeks have been absolutely amazing and I am so excited to work on my independent research project as well as continue my journey with TRIP!