ME S-STEM Scholar, Bella Gudino, has been working in Dr. Jeff Leips' laboratory in the Biological Sciences department at UMBC since 2017. Ms Gudino's research project uses drosophila melanogaster as a model organism, to investigate how differences in DNA and gene expression factors affect age related declines. One of the age-related topics in question is the decline in immune function throughout aging, specifically, the diminished ability to clear bacterial infections. Through microinjections of bacterial solutions into older flies and applying plating techniques, one can count colonies that grow from each fly after they have had 24 hours to clear the infection. Using these colony counts and comparing the numbers to the genome for each fly, Ms. Gudino and Dr. Leips hope to identify target genes that can be further researched in order to find the connection between the candidate genes and the ability to fight infection through old ages.