Venus flytraps can go vegan, Irish dancing isn’t just a hobby, onions shouldn’t always make you cry and oesophageal cancer research just gained an incredible new brain. Here’s what we learned on the third day of BTYSTE 2016.
The third and final day of BTYSTE 2016 was all about biological and ecological science for us, with some trivial eye-catchers mixed in with amazingly in-depth bodies of research.
For example, Balbriggan Loreto Secondary School student (and BTYSTE veteran at this stage) Renuka Chintapalli wowed us with her look into oesophageal cancer.
Chintapalli used bioinformatics – online databases and software – to find biomarkers in oesophageal cancer metastasis. Identifying a consensus motif, which is finding a pattern in proteins that would indicate if they are important to metastasis, she looked at the gene expression levels of these proteins in oesophageal cancer tissue.
Next up, was a more straightforward look into why people cry when they cut onions. Well, not why, but how to stop it. James Gallagher and Mark Conlon from Rathmore Grammar School in Antrim developed a solution-based cure for all our kitchen woes.
Onto more colloquial issues now, and an investigation into whether or not Irish dancing is a sport or a hobby. Looking at dozens of dancers and dozens of GAA footballers, Maeve O’Hagan and Eva Fox from St Catherine’s College in Armagh put them all to the test.
Lastly, on to the quirkiest project of the lot, turning a venus flytrap vegan. Aoife McGeough from St Vincent’s Secondary School in Louth took nutrients that the carnivorous plant usually extracts from flies and added it to its soil to see what would happen.
Words by Gordon Hunt