This week, the Long Lab was very busy examining the relationship between immunocompetence and parental characteristics (using fruit flies, as a model organism). This work, which began in the Fall with the work of Ashley Guncay (co-supervised with Dr. Joel Weadge) is being continued by two of our lab's summer students Katie Plagens & Thiropa Balasubramaniam (seen here with their flies).
So far this summer, Thiropa & Katie have been busy, first learning the ropes of fly pushing, then in running behavioural assays, and setting up immunocompetence assays. All of this has led up to the events of this week - a massive bacterial plating assay. It was hard work (but very rewarding), and would not have been possible without the concerted work of everyone in the lab (as well as many kind expert volunteers from the Weadge lab)!
Briefly, from each vial of flies (top), 5 (virgin) individuals were collected. They were then homogenized in LB media in order to release their bacteria into the solution. The next step is to create a serial dilution of the solution (transferring 10ul in succession into vials containing 90ul of LB media). These solutions are then plated onto petrie dishes (below) which are then checked on the following day for bacterial growth. The number of colonies on each plate (below) are counted, and from this, we can estimate the bacterial load of the original flies.
Ready for action!