Nate at work in the lab

Biochemistry senior Nate Nash is investigating whether or not red harvester ants can be conditioned to respond to the odor emitted from ammonium nitrate, a common component for IED (improvised explosive devices). The inspiration for this research is based on previous work in which silky or dusky ants ants have been trained to seek out volatile organic compounds that are evolved from solid tumor cells in vitro. Ants show promise in serving as rapidly trainable biological detectors for different organic volatiles.