GSA undergraduate member Ben Blue was featured in the January 2016 issue of Alaska Airlines’ Alaska Beyond | Horizon Edition Magazine.
As part of an article on college students conducting research that may make a difference in the world, the magazine highlighted Ben’s research on how diet affects health. Working in the lab of Patrick Phillips at the University of Oregon, he is using the C. elegans model system to measure how various dietary inputs affect life history traits such as reproductive behavior, physiological health, and longevity.
Although Ben isn’t completely sure how the magazine found out about his work, it’s been particularly fun: as an Alaska native, many of his friends and family fly Alaska Airlines regularly and have been able to save copies of the magazine. “I also got the chance to surprise a few family members by sending them a text to check the in-flight magazine right before they board.”
Ben has also taken full advantage of his fame to discuss the importance of C. elegans research with family members who weren’t aware of how this small model organism is helping to provide answers to big questions.
As noted in the airline magazine, Ben was able to attend GSA’s International C. elegans Meeting in 2015 thanks to a GSA Undergraduate Travel Award. He had this to say about his experience:
I had an absolutely fantastic time at the International Worm Meeting. I was able to present a poster about some of the research that I’ve been working on for the last several years and meet a lot of other researchers with similar interests in C. elegans diet and microfluidic applications. What was really fantastic was the collaborative nature of the meeting. Almost every interaction began and ended with how each group could help each other solve common questions or troubleshoot shared problems.