Young researcher days, part I

As part of the PSHS curriculum, we had to undergo courses in science and technology research in our third and fourth year, in which we were tasked to work on real S&T projects. It was something akin to the “investigative projects” I saw in grade school science fairs but a lot more demanding in terms of paper-writing and, well, actual research.

For my third year, I had to design a mock project with two other students. If I remember correctly, it was our prerogative as a group how far we would take it, but the design had to be elaborate. We were introduced to different methods of statistical analysis and project planning in class, as well as how to write and present papers. Being interested in blue roses (my favorite flower, for it symbolizes rarity and being out of someone’s league, haha) at that time for their color, I raised the possibility of focusing on it for our research topic.

The pigmentation may be artificial, but seeing or being given this flower makes me happy (just like the ongoing relationships in my mind, haha)

Here it is, in a nutshell: Delphinidin, the anthocyanidin (plant pigment) that gives a blue rose its alluring and vibrant color, is a potent source of antioxidants. Previous researches have found that antioxidants may reduce the rate of angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) that feed malignant tumors. Since the skin of an eggplant (Solanum melongena) is an easily available source of delphinidin, we thought of extracting it from eggplants with the deepest violet color (standardized using hexadecimal color codes), testing it on lab mice introduced with skin cancer as a bioassay, and measuring its effectiveness as an angiogenesis-inhibitor. Our problem was that all we could do was design the project due to a lack of resources. We couldn’t contact some agency and ask them to allow three clueless kids to do experiments that deal with pigment extraction and cancer cells; the farthest we got was a consultation from a professor in UP Bio department, if my memory serves me right.

Who would’ve thought that a flower I love and a vegetable I hate would have something in awesome in common?

So for my final year, I made sure to do a project with a much better design and acquire the necessary resources to bring it to fruition. After all, it would be the culmination of my high school life — the legacy I leave as a PSHS student.


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