Authentic Research Experience

In our lab, we use the fruit fly to explore genes and processes that are required for proper development of organisms. The fly is a useful model to understand human development due to its similarity with many other organisms, including humans. The fruit fly has been used for over a hundred years as a research tool and has aided in understanding many of the underlying mechanisms in human disease and development. This long established history provides a strong framework for us to better understand the genetic and cellular basis of development in flies to where we can then better understand how a similar process occurs in humans.

At the start of this academic semester, my goal was to work with my partner teacher, Camden, to create an authentic research experience that integrates real questions that have originated during my graduate training. At this point, Camden and I have worked together to identify areas where there is overlap between the project and the course curriculum and how they will align over the course of the next few months. We are also creating an assessment to identify the students’ baseline knowledge and if there are any misconceptions regarding the content we will be covering.  A critical component in making this work will be the timing. The project itself is a large undertaking. This is certainly going to be complicated by unexpected results, student holidays, and many other unknown factors. While the process has been overwhelming at times, it has been very interesting to see how well our individual skill sets are complementary for designing the experience.

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