Wow! I gotta say, the past few weeks have gone by so incredibly quick. During Week 1, I already knew a decent amount about fruit flies and their development from other programs, but I can honestly say I now know so much more. It’s really cool how such a small creature can be so incredibly complex in so many ways. I will never be able to thank this program enough for teaching me so much, as well as continuing to fuel my love for research.
A few weeks ago, I shared that I would be completing a Proboscis Extension Response (PER) Assay in order to test the memory of fruit flies drugged with Prozac after being stressed with isolation. Sadly, this project did not work the way I wanted it to. A former TRIP student named Matt came in to help me better understand this assay which I am so incredibly grateful for. He helped explain everything step by step which was an amazing help, however, this assay wasn’t meant to be. Due to the time constrictions of TRIP, I would not have had enough time in order to perfect my technique, as well as be able to run actual trials to get data. After putting in a lot of effort, I ultimately determined, with the help of Dr. Leystra and Ms. P, that this assay was not worth all of the stress I was putting myself under. This particular assay is extremely tedious, time consuming, and was ultimately not for me. The worst part was that I accidentally ate 4 flies (EWWWW!!!).
PER didn’t work the way I wanted it to, so I pivoted. My interest in Prozac, isolation, and memory never changed, so I continued to go with that part of the plan. One of my fellow TRIPmates, named Anjali Verma, developed her own assay. As of right now, it does not have a name, however, I always joke around about calling the Minion Assay. This assay involves heat shocking flies, which causes them pain while they are in a vial with the scent of banana. The flies are then put into a vial with no banana and put into room temp water. After this is repeated, they are put into a T-Maze with banana scent on one side and no scent on the other. If they are properly trained, they will go away from the banana scent, wanting to not be in pain, even though flies without this training would typically go towards the banana.
For my experiment specifically, I am using control flies, flies treated with Prozac, flies that have been in isolation since their pupal stage, and flies that were both treated with Prozac and isolated since their pupal stage. As of right now, I am currently analyzing data and am unsure if this experiment will work or not. I do have high hopes, but anything can happen in research. Data is data I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.