How does Holy Basil and intestinal inflammation affect fruit fly mood? Five weeks ago, I had no idea what the answer to this question was or what Holy Basil even was. In these past few weeks of TRIP, I’ve learned all of that and so much more. I always knew I wanted to go into scientific research and my experiences with TRIP have just about confirmed that this is the right career for me! We started this internship by working on a kick-off project: a project meant to teach us about working in the lab and handling fruit flies. I worked with Holy Basil, which is a member of the mint family reported to have anti-inflammatory properties, and intestinal inflammation. To see the effects of this combination, I looked at fruit fly mood and analyzed my results. Now, you’d think that an anti-inflammatory drug would counteract the effects of inflammation, but there was no correlation shown in my results. While this wasn’t the result I was anticipating (and though some may even consider it a failure), I am just so happy to be running experiments on my own and learning all that I can!
“Does the consumption of BPA have an effect on fruit fly development and/or female fertility?”
Now that I’m all done with my kick-off experiment, now it is time for me to start my independent project. The hardest thing I think I’ve done so far in TRIP was pick a topic to research for my independent project. Though most people don’t mention this, seeing all the options available to me for different drugs and stressors and tests to run on the fruit flies was so overwhelming at first. Still, I was able to work through it and I’ve settled on my research question: “Does the consumption of BPA have an effect on fruit fly development and/or female fertility?” To understand why this question is important, you first have to understand what BPA is. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics, like the ones in plastic drinking cups and plastic takeout containers. Then, it leaches into your food and you eat it without ever knowing it was there. Though originally thought to be harmless, research now indicates that BPA might negatively affect female fertility. Recently, BPA was banned in the production of sippy cups and baby bottles, which made me start wondering just exactly how BPA affects human health.
As of now, I can only hypothesize what effects BPA will have on female fertility and development. It’s hard to believe that I’m going to be presenting this information to a crowd of people at the symposium in just about 2 months. Though I am nervous, I know that it’ll be here before I know it and I’ll be super prepared, with help from Dr. Lyestra and Dr. Purdy! I’ve already grown so much in the past five weeks & I can’t wait to see how much more I’ll have grown when TRIP is all over!