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By Ally Bauer, VI Form
The Impact of Black Sesame Pigment on Drosophila Melanogaster with Alzheimer’s Disease
My project for the STEM Fellowship was studying the impact of black sesame pigment on drosophila melanogaster with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects over 44 million people worldwide. One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease are amyloid-beta plaques that form in between the neurons and disrupt cell communication and function. Black sesame pigment, derived from black sesame seeds, has been proven to reduce the aggregation of these plaques in vitro studies. Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit flies, are wonderful model organisms that are utilized for their quick reproduction rate, easily manipulated genome, and the relation its genome has with humans. For my experiment, I was able to track the progression of memory loss in flies with Alzheimer’s disease. I had multiple groups to show me if greater concentrations of black sesame pigment would slow the progression of memory loss in the flies. Although the results of the experiment proved my null hypothesis to be correct, I now have a greater understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease, the scientific method, and having control over what I learn and how I learn it. I am incredibly grateful for Ms. Lohwater, Mr. Loomer, Mr. Valitutto, and the five other STEM Fellows who have mentored me, shaped my project, and problem solve throughout the year.(more…)