Archer’s annual STEM Symposium is an opportunity for Los Angeles high school students who have completed independent or small group projects in STEM to present their findings. Students are invited to present their research in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.
The Archer RISE Award honors exceptional young women for their innovative scientific research or engineering design projects that further existing knowledge or develop solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Finalists for the RISE Award are noted in throughout the online program and will be awarded at lunch on May 21.
Photophobia, also known as light sensitivity, is an intolerance towards light. Photophobia is not an eye disease, but it can be a symptom of other illnesses such as severe headaches and migraines. Antioxidants may help with alleviating migraines and decreasing oxidative stress, therefore decreasing light sensitivity. Planarians are free-living aquatic flatworms whose photophobic response to light can be tested because of their central nervous system and basic cerebral eyes connected to the brain. In this experiment, the planarians were split into 4 groups: a control group not treated with any antioxidant, a group treated for 15 days with Lutein, a group treated for 15 days with vitamin A, and a group treated for 15 days with vitamin C. They were placed in a testing dish divided into 4 quadrants, and a light was placed above the testing dish. Their responses to the light were recorded in 2 minute intervals. The questions being answered were, how do the antioxidants Lutein, vitamin A, and vitamin C each affect the planarian negative phototactic behavior? In other words, do planarians become less sensitive to light when given an antioxidant? If so, which of the three antioxidants helps combat photophobia the most? This research is important because it will help further our understanding of eye development in humans and help discover more effective ways to deal with photophobia.