Mapping nutrient targets during development
The research branch of our Immersion Science program for high school students aims to determine the direct molecular targets of dietary nutrients by determining their developmental effects in varied genetic backgrounds in the fly.
This work involves hundreds of high school students in the FCCC Teaching Lab here on campus and in high school classrooms in Philadelphia, its surrounding counties, and New Jersey, as well as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who follow up initial results from the program with advanced approaches. We have found that high school students produce reproducible, high quality data that is in peer-reviewed publications, suggesting that crowdsourcing of cancer-relevant experiments among hundreds of students is a successful and inexpensive approach to large-scale understanding of the roles of specific nutrients in development. Current work focuses on nutrients that target the Ras, Hedgehog, and nuclear hormone receptor signaling pathways.