Loving Science (again)
My labmate said it best. “Science is a cruel mistress.” I think a lot of scientists would agree with this sentiment.
Let’s real talk for a minute. In the last week three of the most brilliant scientists I know broke down in tears. One right at the lab bench, one at a computer station that displayed yet another failed assay, and one into a pillow at home. Sometimes, science really blows. You dedicate so much of your time, your brainpower, your passion into something that can give absolutely nothing back. It can really be tortuous.
So why do we keep at it?
Because sometimes it works. Sometimes all the abstract, crazy components all come together and it’s one in the morning and you’re running statistics and you are bleary eyed and it clicks.
We also keep doing it because we are surrounded by people fervently chasing the same truths. And there is some magical comradely to be found in that shared pursuit.
Applicable to me at various parts of my med school life (second-to-third year, anyone? Or just recently as I’m stepping my feet into clerking life?)
But still, I regret nothing. I want to regret nothing.
"But well, the hardest part in arranging a system is having to deal with the humans."
Because I couldn’t agree more.
Whether it happens to a senior doctor, a nurse, staffs at the MEU, or a humble student-in-clerkship like me, it’s almost always the main problem.
One of the scientists who revealed how plants “do maths” can now reveal how cells take measurements of size. Size is important to cells as it determines when they divide.
In a paper published in eLife, Professor Martin Howard from the John Innes Centre and colleagues from the US, Germany and Singapore discovered that cells measure their surface area using a particular protein, cdr2p. The finding challenges a previous model suggesting that another protein called pom1p senses a cell’s length.
"Many cell types have been shown to reach a size threshold before they commit to cell division and this requires that they somehow monitor their own size," says Professor Martin Howard from the John Innes Centre.
"For the first time we can show how cells sense size and what aspect of size they measure, such as volume, length, mass or surface area."
The scientists found that as cells grow, the concentration of the cdr2p protein grows. The cells use cdr2p to probe the surface area over the whole cell. Their experimental findings contest a previously suggested model.
Fluorescence micrograph showing human cells at various stages of cell division, starting with interphase at the top. During interphase the cell gets bigger and duplicates its DNA. The second cell shows prophase, the stage at which the chromosomes form. The third cell is in metaphase, where all the chromosomes are attached and aligned on the spindle. The fourth cell down shows anaphase, the stage at which the chromosomes separate. The final cell is in telophase, and the newly separated genetic material is encased into two new nuclei.
Credit: Matthew Daniels, Wellcome Images.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia by night
"When the night comes, the starry sky reflects on its surface like in a mirror, and you have the feeling of being in space."