Mona Karim

Major and Classification

Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Brad Foley


Dornsife: Biological Sciences

Research Gateway Project

“Reverse Learning in Drosophila Melanogaster”

Project Abstract

This study looked at addiction indirectly through reverse learning. We were interested in examining how and if reverse learning is achieved by Drosophila melanogaster. We should understand its mechanism of action and how the association with a substance and the initial response is linked to addiction. Through the data, we will be able to link this to addiction in humans and try to resolve it. To obtain the results, five mated female fruit flies were subjected to two different food samples and these samples were then switched. One of the samples, which was grapefruit, had an appealing taste while the other being pineapple, had a bitter taste because it contained caffeine. A non-linear approach and preference index was used to analyze the obtained data and to check the absence or presence of reverse learning. Although the fruit flies showed some learning abilities, unfortunately there was no indication of reverse learning in the samples since we needed variations. In order to better study reverse learning, the best way to do it is only to use a single stimulus because the use of more than one stimulus will provide us with inaccurate results. We might try a more complicated design, and test separately for: 1) learning with shock, 2) learning with sugar, and 3) learning with shock then sugar. This would allow us to somewhat disentangle the components of learning. For future experiments, we are currently working on a project that is linked to addiction, and it is studying these interactions, we will be able to check how in the presence of a stimulus, these interactions and behavior changes.