On this gray and somber morning, a little story that contains three of my favorite things—women in science, kids at the grown-up table, and yummy organic produce—is brightening things just a bit. Dallas teenager Ria Chhabra, who started this project in middle school and is now 16, has had her research on organic foods published in a peer-reviewed journal after winning honors at national science competitions.
The research, titled “Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster,” tracked the effects of organic and conventional diets on the health of fruit flies. By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.
She's been working with a Southern Methodist University professor, Dr. Johannes Bauer, in his lab. According to Pope, "Dr. Bauer said that he was happy to have her working in his lab and that her biggest problem was that 'she has too many ideas for her own good.'" Bless you, internet, for the good stuff.