Senior Biology majors, Ebony Smith and Keeley Cook, are assisting Dr. Blatch this year in her study of how nutrition and microorganisms affect the growth and development of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). Ebony is specifically looking at the effects of manipulating the flies with the addition of folic acid, while Keeley is looking at the effects bacteria have on the fruit flies. In performing this research, students have the opportunity to learn a variety of techniques including: how to handle flies, prepare special diets, determine specific stages of development, do DNA extractions and PCR, use online genomic databases, measure vitamin levels, and culture/identify microbes. Ebony’s favorite part about performing research at Stevenson is the ability to gain hands-on experience. Additionally, Keeley loves that performing research here provides her with an opportunity to practice the new techniques she has learned as a biology major.