Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Pamela Hoppe

Second Advisor

Alexandra Haase


A large problem in science is the lack of literature replication, especially for subjects in which there is little published research. Literature replication is an integral part of the scientific method and is important for validating methods and results of published studies. A study from Nature found that out of 1,500 scientists interviewed, over 70% have been unable to reproduce literature studies and over half of them have been unable to reproduce even their own studies (Baker, 2016). This problem is even more pronounced in the field of biology, with 80% of scientists reporting that they are unable to replicate published experiments and 60% are unable to replicate their own. Literature that reports methods of cell isolation from insect tissue, specifically that of Lepidopteran species, is not robust and has few published protocols demonstrating novel cell isolation methods. This project examines the reproducibility of two methods from published studies, the cell migration and forced cell separation protocols, by attempting to replicate their cell isolation and culture methods. While the two studies both isolate midgut cells from Lepidopteran species, they utilize different cell isolation methods and have different applications of the isolated cells.

In this study, midgut cells were isolated from the Lepidopteran species Helicoverpa zea in order to create and maintain primary cell cultures. The success of this project was assessed based on a comparison of replication results to the literature results. Mixed results were obtained through the replication process. The forced cell separation protocol achieved more successful results, while changes had to be made to the cell migration methods to combat consistent contamination issues and irreproducible methods. Even after these changes were made, the methods and results were only partially replicated successfully. Steps can be taken to combat the widespread issue of literature irreproducibility, starting from addressing the issue on a broader scale in the scientific community and including encouraging replication studies and external validation and increasing the acceptance of publishing these replication studies.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

SP Final Thesis Presentation.pdf (1727 kB)
Defense Presentation