Fairland seniors take honors for research workPublished 9:50am Thursday, December 8, 2011
ROME TOWNSHIP — For most people the humble fruit fly can be an annoying creature as it dive bombs into a bowl of ripening bananas at the most inopportune times.
But for two Fairland High School seniors, its existence provided a chance of a lifetime as they got to work in a university lab, finding out just what hands-on research is all about.
“It was awesome. I loved it,” Nathan Wang said about working with Marshall University’s Dr. Simon Collier. “Every day you are able to see things no one else does and use equipment that honestly costs more than most people’s houses. You make discoveries.”
Wang teamed up with Fairland classmate Jared Galloway to aid Collier in research on the function of specific protein that is used in the insect’s flight.
“There is a protein called resilin that is kind of like a rubber band. It springs back to its original shape,” Galloway said. “Dr. Collier did a cross breed where the flies had no resilin and we tested its flight ability.”
The students received national recognition for their contribution to the project when they were named semifinalists in the 2011 Siemens competition in math, science and technology. The Siemens Foundation award is the highest science honor possible for high school students.
Both students credit Fairland science teacher Tim Hayes as the inspiration for their interest in science.
“He really pushed us,” Galloway said. “He was always talking about the great things we could do if we worked hard. He really forced us to work hard.”
After college both students envision careers in science. Galloway wants to go to medical school to become an oncologist. Wang, who grew up in a family of engineers, wants to go into biological research.
“Research in my opinion has the best chance of changing the world and having an impact on the world,” Wang said. “The one thing I have always wanted to do is to make an impact on the world. Research lets you make an impact on literally changing the lives of billions of people of the world.”