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Nina Varvastas

My partner, Olivia Polinsky, and I are researching The Effect of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds on Drosophila Melanogaster. Over the last few weeks we have been developing a science research project on the topic of QACS in cleaning products. We find their known and possible effects on people and living things to be fascinating. QACs are a chemical which have especially been called to attention over the COVID 19 pandemic, because of all the cleaning supplies which they are utilized in. We will be testing how Drosophila Melanogaster behaves once  quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are introduced to the environment. We believe their behavioral responses will become altered in regards to light reactivity, egg laying, and eating patterns. We are excited to continue our research with our mentors Karen and Melanie, Mrs. Kenny and Dr. Sarah Evens from Mount Sinai. Olivia and I are interns at Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition (HBCAC). We both worked on separate projects during the Summer; I worked on a Student Ted Talk regarding endocrine disruptors, specifically MSG. Olivia worked with NYSCHECK where they researched QACs which is where our research idea sprouted from. I am most excited to research more about QACs and its effects on the Drosophila Melanogaster (fruit flies). I find researching chemicals and endocrine disruptors very interesting. I’m also excited to analyze the behavioral responses once the QACs are introduced to the flies’ environments.Science Research has been my favorite class since I was a freshman. I love learning new things and I’ve learned so much over the past few years. I’ve made great friendships along the way and I’m grateful for this class and all the opportunities it has brought me to!

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Nina Varvastas