top of page
[X] logo.jpg

Hannah Badr


Year of study:


Modelling the Relationship Between Intestinal Disease and Sleep in Fruit Flies


The large intestine is the site of digestion and absorption of food and nutrients, but it is also the site of several debilitating conditions and diseases including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and colorectal cancer. As of 2020, almost 40% of the world’s population suffers from a digestive disorder (UZ Leuven 2020), demonstrating the importance of uncovering the mechanisms behind these diseases to hopefully provide better treatments. The intestine is involved in inter-organ communication, a characteristic that is vital to maintaining its regular functioning. An example of this, is the interaction between the intestine and the brain that is part of a larger communication pathway known as the gut-brain axis (Medina et. al, 2022). Disruption of sleep patterns, which are regulated by the circadian rhythm (the bodily changes occurring within a 24-hour period) have been shown to be associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer (Lin et. al, 2019).
To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the relationship between sleep and intestinal disorders, this project used the organism Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the fruit fly, to model abnormal proliferation in the gut and its effect on sleep behavior. Drosophila is a commonly used model within the biosciences because of its small and easily manipulable genome, and because it has many physiological, anatomical, and molecular features that are analogous to humans. This study and countless others, use Drosophila to uncover the basis of diseases that can later be translated to humans.


Hannah Badr is a 4th year Biochemistry student from Egypt. She has a strong interest in developmental biology and how we can use model organisms within bioscience research. Undertaking a summer placement in the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research building at Glasgow University allowed her to use fruit flies to model colorectal cancer. This opportunity showed her the potential to use these organisms and others to study human disease. She is an especially strong advocate for the use of flies due to its versatility and analogous structures to humans, and wants to encourage more disease-related research with these organisms.

bottom of page