Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Lindsay Lewellyn


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Although targeted therapies that specifically inhibit pathways that are activated in cancer cells are becoming more common, often times the specific cancer-causing pathways are not known, or a treatment targeting that pathway has not been developed. In the absence of a targeted therapy, most common cancer treatments target proliferating cells, which can cause many unwanted adverse side effects. Therefore, researchers are testing whether natural extracts or dietary supplements could reduce the growth or metastasis of cancer cells without as many negative side effects. This study uses the Drosophila melanogaster egg chamber as a model system to test the effect of two natural extracts (walnut extract and green tea extract) on invasive cell migration. During normal egg formation, two groups of cells - the border cells and the centripetal cells - migrate from the outer epithelial layer into the germ cell cluster. Because cancer cell metastasis involves invasive cell migratory behavior, these normal cellular behaviors can be used as a model for metastasis. To monitor these invasive migratory behaviors, the border cells and centripetal cells were marked with a green fluorescent protein (GFP), and the extent of migration was monitored using fluorescence microscopy. Data collected from these experiments suggest that walnut extract and green tea extract treatment could cause a modest defect in centripetal cell migration, without significantly affecting border cell migration. Future experiments will assess effect of walnut or green tea extract on specific pathways implicated in centripetal cell migration, as well as extend this model to test other natural extracts.

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Biology Commons