Reflection: Dog Ownership & The Microbiome
For last year's project, I researched more about the microbiome and later designed an experiment to observe the effects that pet ownership might have on the human microbiome. I enjoyed learning about all the different factors that could alter our microbiomes, including diet and location. Being able to actually pitch my experiment and getting positive feedback was one of my biggest successes last year. I should have planned my project more thoroughly so that I could have gotten farther. If I had done this, I might have been able to conduct the experiment during the school year. I would like to explore this same topic this year, with an added focus on computer programming. All of the research I have done since sophomore year would play a role in my final project this year. In addition to this focus on the human microbiome, I would like to improve my programming skills and learn how to analyze the genetic data(from the experiment) independently using software.
Broadening Scope & Building Upon Past Work:
Since last year, I don't really have any new questions regarding the microbiome. I would like to know how to combine programming and the microbiome however. This is what my final project will focus on. Collecting and analyzing microbiome data in a lab are the steps for this year's project that will definitely require the most guidance. Ultimately, I would like to develop solid programming skills and gain more insight into how our microbiome affects our everyday life (and how our everyday life affects our microbiome).
Change in the Broader Community:
By showing people how pet ownership positively (or negatively) affects our microbiome, I could promote lifestyle changes that people can make to be healthier! Sharing the results of this project would increase awareness as well because the microbiome is a relatively foreign concept to the general public.