Dr. Huber at Bowling Green State University has published research showing the impact of protein on the experience of the “food coma”- the state of lethargy one often has after a meal.
In this article by Bonnie Blankinship, Dr. Huber explains his research in fruit flies that helped to identify this and a possible explanation as to why this might be- perhaps sleep helps to process the ingested protein. Perhaps too, as protein is an “expensive” protein, that it is it requires a greater expenditure of energy to obtain, then perhaps the fly is simply depleted.
Interestingly, time of day is also correlated to the fruit fly experiencing lethargy.
I love how this article talks about the details of how Dr. Huber conducted this research. He uses computer sensors and video tracking to record the details of the fly’s movement and activity level to note when it eats and sleeps.
“In one second we can get a thousand data points,” according to the article.
Wouldn’t your students benefit from such a lab?
I really also look forward to Dr. Huber’s future collaboration on creating a “fruit fly soundscape” with composer Reiko Yamada. I think it really shows the power of an inquisitive mind and the importance of collaboration.
Sharing this article with any student to help highlight not only this fascinating research but also to demonstrate some of the essential elements of research literacy- curiosity, interdisciplinary collaboration, and critical thinking.
Questions for Discussion
- What is a “food coma?”
- Why does Dr. Huber study the fruit fly?
- What is a drosophila?
- Describe how Dr. Huber conducted this research?
- What sparked his interest in this subject?
- What does he say about behavior?
- What other implications are there for this research?
- What important traits of research literacy does this article highlight?
- How else could you use this article to inspire your students?