Dr. Heather Axen (Salve Regina University) and her team of high school students from Vermont, Rhode Island and Kentucky visited SMER to investigate the epigenetic response to stressful temperatures in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and related species. Organisms can sometimes acclimate to stressful conditions though epigenetics, in which their genetic code is unchanged but gene expression is altered by making certain regions of DNA more or less available. For example, fruit flies might change how their chromosomes are bound up by chromatin proteins when subjected to thermal stress. The students, Anna Wilson-Wuestefeld, Christina Taft, and Laura Unfried, collected flies at SMER and cultured them in food tubes for later experiments. Read more about their work.