Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Picks: Science

I was cleaning, rearranging and reorganizing my room so that I could work more efficiently. As I was emptying, moving, and re-filling shelves, I found the single souvenir that survived from my college years in Biomedical Engineering, a text book titled Tissue Engineering by Clemens Van Blitterswijk (we called him CVB). I sold all my other books back to get money to purchase my books for the next semester. This was the only one that remained...

And with that, I dedicate an entire Friday Picks to the topic of science, and my memories of college.

a. This DNA bangle reminds me of all those times in lab during my 3 years as an undergrad researcher (summer internships, 7-month co-op, semester-long 20/hr/week lab work). I always ended every experiment by "running a gel" to make sure the DNA was correct after all the experimentation. Oh, gel electrophoresis, how you've helped me so.

b. We used glass beakers all the time. The time I remember it most when I had to make I-have-no-idea-how-many little test strips of gel mixed with varying amounts of calcium to test whether the overall tensile stress of the product was increased with increased calcium. Fun experiment. Got to work with an instron. I won't tell you the result in case you'd like to figure it out for yourself. :)

c. Really, you just needed a lot of caffeine to survive exam week. Although our entire class shared the same schedule starting junior year (when we were taking all BME classes), and all the professors knew this, they still scheduled exams on the same day/week. Not sure why. Possibly because they were cruel.

d, e. This antique anatomy model should have been in my dorm all through my years in college. I especially needed one for Engineering Physiology for the section of the brain. You wonder why Neurosurgeons make bank --they have to memorize a lot. We had an ophthalmologist as our professor for this section and not only did we memorize all the lobes (high school bio, kids, high school) but you know how the brain has all those squiggly things? Well those folds have names. And each sulcus we had to memorize. Along with the gyrus next to it. And the tracts and where they go. And how they all connected to the spinal column. And if whatever vertebrae were severed, how would the patient be affected. Really, and our exam looked a lot like a bunch of pictures like this, with blanks and we had to write down what part of the brain it was.

And not only that, but we had to diagnose case studies. Something like a 43-year old woman enters your office complaining of spells of blurred vision associated with headaches predominantly right-sided with sharp pain radiating from the retro-orbital region, and has slurred speech from the left side of her mouth and recalls experiencing numbness on the left side of her face. She has experienced milder spells of tremulousness, diaphoresis, and weakness. What's your diagnosis?

But those cufflinks make a good gift for anyone who loves the brain. That squishy mass of tissue that controls everything we do. :)

p.s. Here's a picture of my room. I took this picture with the Pano app on the iPhone.
work studio
Click to see more details and "notes" on Flickr.


  1. I love reading about how your experiences are represented by the items you chose. Thank you for including my caffeine necklace! Hooray for science!

  2. great post!

    and thank you as well...happy weekend!