Olivia Polinsky is one of the stars of the Huntington High School science research program. The sophomore is studying the effect of quaternary ammonium compounds on drosophila melanogaster also known as QACs.
Ms. Polinsky and her research partner, Nina Varvastas have been collaborating on a project focused on QACs in cleaning products. The duo is focused on QACs known and possible effects on people and living things to be fascinating.
Huntington sophomore Olivia Polinsky.
QACs are a chemical that have gained greater attention during the COVID-19 pandemic since they are utilized in many cleaning products. The Huntington High School research partners will be testing how drosophila melanogaster behaves once quaternary ammonium compounds are introduced into the environment.
“We believe their behavioral responses will become altered in regards to light reactivity, egg laying and eating patterns.” Ms. Polinsky said. The pair is “very excited” to continue the research with their mentors, Karen Miller and Melanie Lynn Gabrelli of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Huntington High School science teacher Lori Kenny and Dr. Sarah Evans of Mount Siani’s Icahn School of Medicine.
Ms. Polinsky and Ms. Varvatsas are both interning with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition. They worked on separate projects last summer. Ms. Polinsky focused on “Student Ted Talk” regarding endocrine disruptors, speciﬁcally monosodium glutamate.
Ms. Polinksy also worked with New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers (more widely known by the acronym NYSCHECK) where she researched QACs, which is where the research being used by her and Ms. Varvatsas originally sprouted from.
“I’m most excited to learn more about the effect of QACs on living things and I enjoy science research because it helps me with my presenting and analyzing skills,” Ms. Polinsky said.