students standing and kneelingThe UWindsor contingent at Ontario Biology Day. Rachel Andrews is standing, third from left.

Fruit fly research takes home award from Ontario Biology Day

Rachel Andrews, a student in the laboratory of biology professor Andrew Swan, won recognition at a gathering of more than 200 senior-level honours undergraduate students this past weekend at Laurentian University in Sudbury.

Andrews won best presentation in cell biology at Ontario Biology Day for her entry, entitled “The role of cortex (CORT) in sex determination of Drosophila.”

Dr. Swan says her research project investigates how the CORT gene, if misregulated, can cause female fruit flies to transform into males.

“Rachel has been able to generate many high-quality results,” he says. “Most importantly, she found very good evidence that CORT targets for destruction a known sex determination protein called Tra. These findings represent a major advance in our understanding of sex determination.”

The University of Windsor was represented at the colloquium by a contingent of 18 undergraduate students from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.